Over the past half century, the world population has doubled and grain yield has tripled. Improvements to production have been achieved, in part, by using more farmland, water and fertilizer. With the changing climate, we will no longer be able to use these techniques, forcing us to use other tools such as improvements in the basic knowledge of plant genetics.
Top global experts in agrigenomics presented their work in this field at B·Debate, an initiative of Biocat and the “la Caixa” Foundation to promote scientific debate, in conjunction with the Center for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG) and with support from the National Science Foundation (United States).
- Food production will have to increase up to 70% to feed the world population by 2050. With climate change and the impossibility of continuing to use more farmland, water and fertilizer, better knowledge of plant genetics is key to applying other improvements
- The first plant genome was published in 2000. Today we have the full genome of more than 80 species and thousands of varietals: for example, up to 3,000 varieties of rice. As this technology becomes cheaper, the amount of data in this field will continue to grow, but researchers are working to understand this information and its possible applications
- The plants we feed ourselves with today are the result of genetic modifications they have been subjected to by human beings since the Neolithic era, first intuitively and later with more precise techniques
- GMOs are just the result of one of these techniques to genetically modify plants. Knowledge acquired through agrigenomic research can be applied to other techniques