1. Genetic engineering: The new techniques and their potential
Not available – first paragraph follows: In one sense, genetic engineering of plants is really nothing new. Since the beginnings of agriculture, when crop species were first domesticated, people have modified plants to suit their needs. In saving seed from only their best plants, ancient farmers practiced genetic selection. Systematic and scientific plant breeding began about 200 years ago and has evolved into a powerful technology. Crop plants are now deliberately improved through controlled pollinations to achieve defined objectives. But although genetic engineering is in a way as old as agriculture itself, in current usage the term refers collectively to a number of very new techniques for changing plants genetically- techniques that do not rely on pollination, but instead involve genetic manipulations at the cellular and molecular levels. This technology promises to be a powerful adjunct to modern plant breeding.