Biotechnology and Molecular Biology Reviews

  • Abbreviation: Biotechnol. Mol. Biol. Rev.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1538-2273
  • DOI: 10.5897/BMBR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 102


Transgenic plants: Successes and controversies

Alfred O. Ubalua
Microbiology/Tissue Culture laboratories, National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), Umudike, P. M. B 7006 Umuahia, Abia State, Nigeria.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 05 October 2009
  •  Published: 31 December 2009


Applications of herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers have greatly increased crop yields in the past. More recently, however, crop yields are barely keeping up with world growth, hence the need for new approaches. Agricultural biotechnology may likely play a key role in the race to feed the world’s expanding population with fewer inputs and on less and less available land. Genetic engineering of plants represents the next stage of evolution in our continuing efforts to improve plants used for the production of food and animal feed. Agricultural biotechnology is a powerful technique offering great potential for agricultural sustainability and safe production of foods with increased nutritive value, improved flavour, prolonged freshness, and even disease-fighting properties, but it is not without controversy. The potential for the transgenic crops to alleviate human hunger, and the controversies which are invariably based on visions of the new technology from widely different ethical perspective which have divided both the public and the scientific communities are discussed. But, critical to its adoption and acceptance is by providing choice and accurate information to consumers from scientists, policy makers, industry and the press. The present review addresses the prospects of the technology, and the polemics concerning its adoption.


Key words: Transgene, pharmaceutical crops, risks, prospects and controversies.