Wheat scientifically named as Triticum aestivum was genetically modified in year 2005. The modification was done because a large part of earth is converted in to saline land because the underground salty water level rises and replaces the normal underground water, normal crops can't be grown in such circumstances therefore these lands were of no use to us, and area for cultivation was largely reduced, about 69.5x10^6 hectares of land are saline in Africa, 53.1x10^6 hectares in Middle East, 19.5x10^6 hectares in Asia and far East, 75.4.x10^6 in USA and 20.7x10^6 hectares in Europe. This huge area goes uncultivated every year. So to make this area useful scientist used a really efficient way by production of GM salt tolerant crops. When plants are genetically modified in such a way to give us our desired traits they are called as transgenic plants because they contain foreign genes in them. Natural wheat couldn't grow in such saline soil, so scientists made genetically modified salt tolerant wheat crop. The traits modified in them were salt toleration and herbicidal toleration. This problem has been caused by extensive chemical application to the soil, this causing the underground salt level to rise up to the ground level.
Amino acid proline acts as osmopotectant high levels of this amino acid makes the plant salt tolerant, enzyme involved in proline synthesis known as ornithine aminotransferase (OAT) over articulate itself and hence makes the plant tolerant to salt and helping the plant grow in saline soil. Genes i.e. Ornithine aminotransferase (oat gene) for salt toleration is obtained from Arabidopsis thaliana. Ubi promoter along with ornithine amino transferase (oat) extracted from Arabidopsis thaliana, includes a zein terminator from Zea mays and a first intron, having improved vacuolar Na+/H+ antiporter gene, the leaves have reduced Na+ level and they are cultivated in saline soils.
Na+ is noxious to the plant's cells and wheat productivity is severely affected by it every year. Na+ is removed from the vacuole to increase the salt tolerating capacity of plant. When compared the yield of normally producing wheat and transgenic wheat, the yield of transgenic wheat was 25% more than that or normal wheat. But the productivity is sacrificed when the salinity level is very high, as it says higher the salinity lower the productivity and quality of the crop is affected too.
Uses of GM salt tolerant Triticum aestivum
• They have greater yield than natural wheat, they are the ultimate solution to food shortage problem of the world. Hunger is the major issue and thanks to genetically engineered crops it's being solved very well.
• A lot of world's damaged land due to salinity was unfit for cultivation purposes and is now being used very well for the production of salt tolerant crops. Prevention of these soils can't be done as it has been a long time but there is a possible solution of cultivation of salt tolerant crops in these areas making them useful for mankind. As the population is increasing there is a continuous reduction in the size of agricultural land so these saline soils are ought to be used for cultivation purposes. Durum wheat is less salt tolerant than bread wheat
• Tilling was to be done in these soils to make them cultivable and large amount of chemical treatment were to be given to the soil but now transgenic wheat has saved us from this tribulation of tilling the land, cutting short on the cost of the tilling and saving time too. Farmers are better off with this transgenic wheat.
• Along with salt tolerating capacity the scientists have developed salt tolerant as well as herbicidal resistant wheat, protecting it from different sorts of alarming hazards.
• These are better in nutritional value than the natural wheat, cheaper to cultivate, give more yield and are easy to cultivate.
Transgenic wheat a dream come true in the field of biotechnology as it has made the dead land come to life again. Problems of utilization of saline soil are solved and the outcome is large productivity with better nutritional value, they have short production time, require less land for the cultivation, has reduced the side effects of Na+ as it's toxic to plant if accumulated in higher concentration, mainly accumulated in leaves. Thus it has improved our standard of living.
About Author / Additional Info:
An enthusiastic writer