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Genomics and Its Applications in Agriculture

BY: Medha Hegde | Category: Biotech-Research | Submitted: 2012-12-16 16:59:13
 

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The study of genes and gene functioning is the area of genomics. Genomics targets to recognize the configuration of the genome together with gene mapping and DNA sequencing. Genomics also investigates the molecular processes and the relationship of genetic and environmental elements in disease. The key distinguishing feature between genomics and genetics is that genetics investigates the activity and composition of the single gene where as genomics includes all genes and their associations in order to recognize their collective influence on the development and growth of the organism. Genomics includes functional genomics (the description of genes and their mRNA and protein products), structural genomics (the analysis of the structural features of genes and chromosomes), comparative genomics (analysis of the evolutionary relationships among the genes and proteins of various species), epigenomics (methylation patterns of DNA, imprinting) and pharmacogenomics (novel biological targets and ways to devise drugs and vaccines).

In agriculture, genomics aids to:

- Improve and design crops with enhanced resistance to factors that influence their growth such as pests, diseases, drought, frost, floods and so on.
- To produce large quantities food on the limited amount of land and to cultivate more nutrient-rich foods
- To breed disease resistant, superior quality livestock and to produce healthy herd. Genomics helps to accurately predict the genetic merit, to sharpen selective breeding, enhance desirable traits and increase animal health and welfare.
- Genomics helps to improve aquaculture, quicker growth rates, improve disease resistance and enhanced stress tolerance in aquatic organisms. As aquaculture produces vital high-quality protein that feeds the population of the world.

Agricultural genomics is concerned with the research and development activities in agriculture that have obvious potential to translate genomic technology in agronomic advancement. Agricultural genomics also focuses on new genomic applications that progress our understanding of plant biology and have open application improvement of the crops. In the period of last ten years, there has been a remarkable increase in genomic tools available in key harvest plants like expressed sequence tags (ESTs), bacterial artificial chromosome libraries and maps (BAC), sequence polymorphisms shaping genetic diversity, analysis of germplasm, mutant collections and expression profiling. Sequences of entire genomes, clarifications and information browsers to make easy cross-genome comparisons, are now obtainable for various reference plants, such as dicot Arabidopsis thaliana, monocots such as rice and sorghum. Sequencing of genome is also progressing quickly in soybean, maize and among other variety of organisms. This means of new genomic resources has caused an ideal shift in knowledge of resources so that scientists whose aim is crop improvement no longer are limited by reference systems to deal with specific questions of biological and economic importance.

The swing from single gene to entire genome study and the whole sequencing of higher eukaryotic genomes put forward the chance to study how all genes work together. These new advancements in genomics have immense impact on agricultural research. Genome sequence analysis will give additional insights into evolutionary mechanisms and the path from which present crops and livestock descended from their ancestors. There is a growing demand for individuals who recognize both, the basics of agricultural production and the utilization of genomics for breeding and cultivation of crops and livestock. The TALENs technique is utilized in agriculture that finds its application in allowing the livestock breeders to promote or deject a particular trait using the site-directed molecular scissors known as transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs). From the TALENs system, scientists for the first time are able to cut out portions of host DNA and insert artificial replacements, which enable scientists to deactivate and possibly activate targeted genes.

Genomics is creating enormous new area of study and new advancement for the globe. Just as genomics, when implied to human life can show the way to remarkable discoveries, so genomics can unlock secrets in all life forms, as well as agriculture. Scientists are only at the foundation to discover how plant genomics can play an important role in increasing the quality and quantity of agricultural production in order to nourish more of the world's population and to provide better food. Genomics is already encouraging reliability and logicality to plant breeding. Plant genomics scientists are able to use genomic principles such as linking genes to traits that is taking the presumption out of agriculture and introducing more scientific assurance.

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