Genomic techniques mark a new era for the agri-food industryBY ALANA HILL

The potential of new genomic techniques is extremely promising for the abundant agricultural sector by melding tradition with innovation. New genomic techniques offer a benign approach to saving plant yields and fortifying plant varieties. By allowing the testing of certain NGTs, countries may fight against the bacteria that attack olive, peach trees, and other significant agricultural commodities. 


New genomic techniques require CRISPR-Cas technology or years of cross-breeding to enable precise modification with immense accuracy. The sustainability and resilience of the food system are increased by slightly altering the genetic material of a seed or plant. Scientists use NGTs to enhance traits through the interactions between the plant and its genetic material. One of the most imperative standards for NGTs is that they are free from foreign DNA. It ensures the integrity and accuracy of genetic data, safeguarding against unintended contamination and guaranteeing the fidelity of the analyzed genomic information. A fundamental component of regulating NGTs guarantees that consumer preferences, supply chain, and intellectual property rights are all clear and concise.


New genomic technologies offer a myriad of advantages that contribute to various aspects of agriculture and global food systems:

  • Resilience against bacteria: Usage of NGTs dwindles the need for chemical pesticides and herbicides while resilience against bacteria increases. Promoting environmentally friendly and sustainable agricultural practices is emphasized. Enhanced resistance to bacterial threats ensures healthier crops and reduces the ecological impact of traditional chemically controlled methods.
  • Strengthening plant varieties: Genomic technologies aid the ever-changing environment and increase nutrients. By fortifying plant varieties, NGTs play a pivotal role in enabling plants to thrive in diverse environmental conditions. Augmenting nutrient levels in crops improves their nutritional profile, addressing deficiencies and promoting healthier diets.
  • Improved crop yields: The development of crops with shorter harvest times, heightened disease resistance, and improved nutritional content advance yields. Addressing the growing demand for food production to sustain an expanding global population is achieved through a substantial increase in crop yields.
  • Accelerated breeding process: The application of NGTs can accelerate the breeding process, enabling the development of new crop varieties rapidly. The swift innovation translates to increased financial income for farmers, as they can bring more harvests to market within a given time. 
  • Global food security: NGTs address challenges for food security worldwide. By providing tools to combat crop diseases, pests, and environmental stressors, agricultural practices’ increased resilience and efficiency contribute to the overall stability and availability of food resources worldwide.
  • Preservation of biodiversity: Crops resistant to pests and diseases are less prone to extinction, contributing to the preservation of biodiversity. Reduced reliance on chemical intervention protects ecosystems from the negative impacts associated with traditional agricultural practices.
  • Reduction in food waste: Crops developed through NGTs will exhibit longer shelf lives and improved post-harvest characteristics. The reduction in spoilage and wastage contributes to more sustainable food systems, addressing concerns related to global food loss.
  • Economic benefits for farmers: By decreasing input costs through the reduced need for chemical pesticides and herbicides, farmers can save money and improve their economic viability. Improved crop yields enhance financial gains for farmers, making agriculture a more economically sustainable and viable venture.

Argentina regulates its NGTs case-by-case according to the techniques used, the genetic modifications performed, and whether there is an artificial gene in the final product. Both multidisciplinary and interinstitutional commissions of science experts carry out a strongly science-based regulatory system. To be more specific, the National Advisory Commission for Agricultural Biotechnology and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations provides advice and technical assistance worldwide on issues about regulatory approaches. By enabling a broader availability of newly genetically edited products, these varieties adjust to climate change and exhibit resilience against pathogens and crop pests. If countries can implement the passing of NGTs on a case-by-case basis, they may enter the global market as a noteworthy competitor.


Image credits: courtesy of Euractiv >>>

Read Regulation of NGTs: a promising first step >>>

Join Our Community and Stay Up to DateSign up to receive weekly updates, thoughtful ideas, and exclusive invitations