Plants, Genes, and Agriculture: Sustainability through Biotechnology

ISBN : 9781605356846

650 ページ
219 x 193 mm

Presenting and integrating information from many disciplines, this book invites readers to consider the complexity of feeding humanity and increasing food production sustainably. Topics covered include:

- the development, physiology, and nutrition of plants
- human nutrition and food safety
- photosynthesis and energy transformations
- genetics, molecular biology, and genomics, including the techniques of genetic transformation (gene silencing, gene editing with CRISPR) used in modern crop breeding
- crop domestication and plant breeding
- soil ecosystems
- the biotic (animal pests, diseases, and weeds) and abiotic (drought, flooding, temperature extremes, and soil degradation) stresses that limit crop production
- technological advances and how new innovations (equipment, chemical products, and improved plant varieties) reach farmers and eventually affect what we eat; also discusses legal aspects (e.g., patents) relevant to agricultural innovations
- plants as sources of pharmaceuticals and specialty chemicals

Although publicized in the controversies surrounding "genetically modified organisms" (GMOs), the applications of modern biotechnology to agriculture extend far beyond GMOs, and include crop improvements that rely on knowledge of the plant's genomes and its analysis by bioinformatics. This unifying theme of the text is stressed in coverage of a number of issues that appear throughout the chapters, including:

- how crop plant breeders look for specific traits to solve practical problems
- genetic engineering of crops as a useful way to supplement conventional plant breeding
- the nature of agribusiness in industrialized countries
- the vital contributions of developing countries and their smallhold farmers, and the unique challenges facing them

Challenging and controversial topics such as the safety of pesticides and GMOs, the increasing demand for animal products and the stresses this puts on agricultural output, organic farming and foods, and patenting new crop varieties are dealt with in a balanced way, inviting teachers and students to consider all the implications of these serious questions.


1 The Human Population and Its Food Supply in the 21st Century, Maarten J. Chrispeels and Hanya E. Chrispeels
2 A Changing Global Food System: One Hundred Centuries of Agriculture, H. Maelor Davies and Paul Gepts
3 Plants in Human Nutrition, Diet, and Health, Maarten J. Chrispeels
4 Genes, Genomics, and Molecular Biology: The Basis of Modern Crop Improvement, Kranthi K. Mandadi and T. Erik Mirkov
5 Growth and Development: From Fertilized Egg Cell to Flowering Plant, Maarten J. Chrispeels
6 Converting Solar Energy into Crop Production, Donald R. Ort, Rebecca A. Slattery, and Stephen P. Long
7 The Domestication of Our Food Crops, Paul Gepts
8 From Classical Plant Breeding to Molecular Crop Improvement, Paul Gepts and Todd Pfeiffer
9 Plant Propagation by Seeds and Vegetative Processes, Kent J. Bradford and Maarten J. Chrispeels
10 Innovations in Agriculture: How Farm Technologies Are Developed and How They Reach Farmers, H. Maelor Davies
11 Soil Ecosystems, Plant Nutrition, and Nutrient Cycling, Eric M. Engstrom
12 Biotic Challenges: Weeds, Patrick J. Tranel
13 Plant Diseases and Strategies for Their Control, Andrew F. Bent
14 Biotic Challenges: Pests, Georg Jander
15 Abiotic Stresses and How They Affect Crop Yield, Maarten J. Chrispeels
16 Introduced Traits That Benefit Farmers and Industry, Maarten J. Chrispeels and Eliot M. Herman
17 Introduced Traits That Benefit the Consumer, Maarten J. Chrispeels and Eliot M. Herman
18 Food Safety: Are Foods Made from GE Crops Safe to Eat? David Tribe
19 Challenges and Solutions for Subsistence Farmers, Manish N. Raizada
20 Plants as Chemical Factories, Krutika Bavishi and Birger Lindberg Moller
21 Plants as Factories for the Production of Protein Biologics, Qiang Chen
22 Sustainable Food Production in the 21st Century, Maarten J. Chrispeels


Maarten J. Chrispeels is affiliated with the University of California, San Diego.; Paul Gepts is affiliated with the University of California, Davis.