Young scientists associated with the INCT PlantStress Biotech bring Embrapa's innovations to the university.
In recent times, Biotechnology has accelerated the genetic advancement of plants. The techniques employed in biotechnology have enabled the development of crops through gene incorporation. These genes not only enhance productivity but also provide resistance to drought, pests, diseases, and herbicides.
Until the early 2000s, over 8,000 improved varieties were created for the 11 main globally cultivated plants. The adoption of these genetically enhanced plants resulted in a 21% increase in production in all developing countries between 1961 and 1980. In the period from 1981 to 2000, this growth reached an astonishing 50%.
Genetic editing and the challenge of climate change
Genetic editing allows for the creation of crops resistant to pests and diseases, reducing dependence on environmentally harmful pesticides. Additionally, it is feasible to develop plants that thrive in adverse conditions, such as acidic soils or water scarcity, making agriculture more adaptable to climate changes.
In this way, for each plant species, there is a wide variety of cultivars, each with characteristics that favor their productivity in specific regions. This is why we can cultivate grapes, for example, in different regions of Brazil, such as the South, Southeast, and Northeast.
Genetic editing is already generating new varieties better adapted to current climate conditions and will continue to enhance agriculture's productivity and climate resilience in the coming decades.
The benefits of this approach go beyond adapting to climate change. New cultivars developed with CRISPR technology, for example, also play a fundamental role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, decreasing the use of agricultural inputs, and preventing food waste, factors that support environmentally friendly agriculture.
Sharing ideas and disseminating knowledge
The integration of advanced technologies into agricultural sciences has become a topic of increasing relevance, offering significant opportunities to improve the production of natural resources, such as food, fibers, and renewable energy, while striving to protect and preserve these crucial resources for present and future generations.
To promote the discussion of these topics and disseminate knowledge among students and future agribusiness professionals, the XVIII Agricultural Sciences Week, IX Research and Graduate Studies Conference in Plant Production, and VII Plant Genetics and Cytogenetics Conference had the theme "The Challenges of Incorporating Technological Tools: Production and Preservation of Natural Resources."
The event, held at the South Campus of the State University of Goiás (UEG) from October 2nd to 6th, 2023, brought together professors, students, and technicians from the Ipameri Unit and other UEG units, as well as representatives from local and regional commercial institutions.
During the event, Dr. Thuanne Pires Ribeiro, MSc. Luanna Pinheiro de Albuquerque Freitas Bezerra, and MSc. Valdeir Junio Vaz Moreira conducted the course "Genome Editing for Bioproduct Production," in which they taught university students the most advanced techniques for genetic transformation and editing in cultivated plants.
Covering everything from fundamental principles of biology to the development of protocols for obtaining transgenic plants, these young researchers shared their knowledge and inspired students in the fields of Agronomy and Forestry Engineering at the institution.