Engineering biology to improve agriculture

Engineering biology can be used in agriculture to produce transgenic seeds with desirable traits to modify plants to produce speciality chemicals, biofuels, or other industrial products and to create novel pest control strategies.

The traditional artificial selection used for thousands of years in animal and plant breeding has now been largely replaced with more efficient molecular biology technology in today’s biotech, or transgenic, seed industry. For crop plants, molecular biology is being used to introduce new genes into a plant’s genome, to produce desirable traits. Synthetic biology can further enhance the performance of seeds beyond conventional strain development with the insertion of multiple genes into the modified seed genome resulting in desirable new traits. Commercial applications for synthetic biology products include biofuel feedstock, beneficial traits for crop plants, and pest control systems.