Estadão columnist Fernando Renach recorded in his column on science last week the discovery by Chinese scientists of a gene capable of increasing rice and wheat production per hectare by 50%. Research in genetic engineering already surprised the world in the early 1990s with genetically modified seeds that are resistant to herbicides, and others that are resistant to pests, such as Helicoverpa armigera, and diseases.
The work of geneticists over the past decades has been in the search for seeds with greater yield, with greater resistance to water factors and also in the production of grains, vegetables and fruits with nutritional potential, flavor and ease of transport.
In 50 years, we have nearly doubled production in areas with technology while the used area has grown only twice: 8 times 2. Jeremy Rifkin, American writer among his bestselling books “The End of Jobs” and “The Century of Biotechnology”. In one of the fairy tales, it was considered that the production of food, fiber and soil derivatives would become more and more in laboratory farmers than in vast tracts of land.
On the 22nd, Reinach pointed to a possible new genetic discovery of a gene discovered by Chinese scientists capable of increasing rice and wheat production by 50% in the same hectare. Indeed, geneticists, not only those who work with classical breeding, and observe the behavior of cultivars and the benefits of crosses, but contemporary genes that introduce genes into the plant, now with genetic editing, which does not introduce new genes but responds. Modified into this specific plant variety, in fact responsible for the production chains of agribusiness.
Here at Agroconsciente, we say that agribusiness ranges from gene genetics to the neuronal visualization meme of the end consumer and citizen. Genetics decisively influences the performance of vegetables and animal protein and therefore requires more advanced rural producers in their management and in everything that includes modern cultural practices, mechanization and digitization.
But in this Chinese discovery, a gene called OsDREB1C wields the plant as if it were all along with a high gluttony of light, photosynthesis, and also with a hungry search for nourishment. Research conducted over a two-year period revealed that these plants are 41% to 68% more productive than normal plants because they capture more nitrogen from the soil and transform photosynthesis more and better.
We know in genetic studies that whenever we extend an angle, or efficiency in the genetic improvement of a plant, other factors must be evaluated, as they may represent weaknesses that must be replaced in the management of these crops, such as punctuality. Supplements of nutrients, and not forgetting Liebig’s Law, an agronomist who concluded it was the most needed factor, which he called the “Law of Minimum” the greatest challenge to getting the maximum potential of this plant.
But that’s up to our doctors and researchers to deal with, and here’s a call to CCAS, the Scientific Council on Sustainable Agriculture, to help us with this visual debate. a. Dr. Joaquim Machado, a geneticist, sent me a letter saying that this discovery by the Chinese is “a good thing and without classical genetics.”
However, if science develops to the point of exponentially doubling grain and agricultural production, if within each grain of wheat, soybeans, beans and rice, in the same way its agricultural industrial use doubles exponentially, and if all this occurs in parallel with sensory analyzes of taste and satisfaction with our human perceptions as consumers, We can imagine in the next 100 years brutal revolutions with much less land being used for agri-food production, agricultural energy, and possibly a lot more land liberation for “giant ecological shelters.”.
What was once the largest cattle ranch in the United States until the 1980s in California, Tejon Ranch, is today a giant park that even serves Hollywood movie sets, but the reasons were other, not scientific for this text.
So is it fiction, or is science a revolutionary shift in productivity to produce more grain per hectare, more protein and energy grains by grain?
In this way, what will be the role of new farmers, ranchers, agronomists, veterinarians, zoologists, geneticists, sensorimotors, nutritionists, and agricultural and industrial marketing specialists? What would a “chef” look like in this scientific future of food?
The present becomes the result of the future. The year 2122 is not that far away and the newborn will now have a great chance of surviving and being active there in this very near future to the present.
Jose Luis Tijon Megido, Member of the Scientific Council for Sustainable Agriculture (CCAS)
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