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Feeling no pain: plants were first to let it happen

Age of Herbals somewhere  during  1565 in this part of globe saw many medical man searching...

Sitopaladi churna is an ayurvedic medicine for cough and cold

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Ethnobotany and Ocimum sanctum (Tulsi)

The term 'ethnobotany' was first applied by Harshberger in 1895 to the study of plants used by...

Gene, gene expression, gene silencing and RNAi

Gene Expression?–What is a Gene?A gene codes for a homogeneous ‘functional unit’ – classically...

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Ashwani KumarRSS Feed of this column.

Professor Emeritus ,Former Head of the Department of Botany, and Director Life Sciences, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur. 302004, India At present freelance consultant with Bioenergia. Spain and... Read More »

Progress in developing genomic tools has been reflected in achievements in the field of biotechnology.

Some of the tools come under category of - omics – Metabolic Pathways - Systems Biology –Epigenetics – RNAi - Paramutation - Adaptive technology; Transgenomics. 

Biotechnology allows the transfer of a gene for a specific trait from one plant variety or species to another, is one important piece of the puzzle of sustainable development. Experts assert that biotechnology innovations will triple crop yields without requiring any additional farmland, saving valuable rain forests and animal habitats. 

I had a chance to witness plant conservation sites in Sweden, Japan  Germany and India. Almost all the plant species are conserved in cold storage , in liquid nitrogen, and in different methods of storage so that if mankind looses all plants on earth in the event of some circumstances of floods or man made devastations the life can be started again. Although we don't envisage a threat of nuclear war now but  it was so much in the air just 4 decades ago  that plant storage facilities were made to withstand even atomic attacks.

Hyderabad conference on biodiversity is excellent opportunity on resource mobilisation.  With  over 180 participating countries  Prime Minister of India hopes for a "positive outcome". India became the first champion of the Hyderabad pledge to announce US $50 million ( Rs. 250 crore) to strengthen biodiversity institutions within India and abroad on Tuesday(HT 17th October, 2012) .
The Human body is a fine-tuned system of interactions between billions of cells and understanding molecular processes in biological systems of humans and animals has been a challenging task.
 At cellular level each cell has tiny receptors that enable it to sense its environment, so it can adapt to new situations. “Robert Lefkowitz and Brian Kobilka are awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for groundbreaking discoveries that reveal the inner workings of an important family of such receptors: G-protein–coupled receptors”. (Quoted from The Royal Swedish Academy of SciencesPRESS RELEASE2012-10-10).

 Biotechnology is not all about foods only. There is much more in store for future of mankind.

Even if we may or may not like Agricultural Biotechnology which  is estimated to be $6 billion market (2005), including applications such as:  Pest-resistant plants, Higher protein&vitamin content in foods,drugs developed and grown as plant products,  drought-resistant, cold-tolerant, and higher-yielding crops biotechnology is going to stay and grow.  

Medical Applications

"Sustainable agriculture" is as  articulated in the 1990"Farm Bill" Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990,P.L.