Benefits of Biotechnology in horticulture

1. Several numbers of horticultural crops have been commercialized from biotechnological endeavor. E.g.

a. Papaya genetically engineered fro papaya ringspot virus. This product has revived the Hawaiian papaya industry, which was devastated by the virus in the 1990’s.
b. Calgene, USA has released Flavr Savr tomato which has gene silencing of polygalacturonase, an enzyme implicated in fruit ripening.
2. Genetic engineering of sweet corn and potato with bt genes (genes isolated from Bacillus thruingiensis) for resistance against colorado potato beetle and corn ear worm.
3. Biotechnology is contributing in the development of sensitive diagnostic techniques (such as ELISA, PCR etc.,) for the identification of plant pathogens.
4. Good progress has been made in developing resistance to codling moth and fireblight in apple, plum pox virus in plum, crown gall and codling moth in walnut, citrus tristeza virus (CTS) in citrus and Pierce’s disease in grapevine using transformation technology.
5. Similarly, projects to increase the content of vitamins, minerals or nutraceuticals in horticultural products are in progress.
6. Several ornamental plants, including carnation, rose and gerbera have been engineered for modified flower colour.
7. Research on genes controlling the different biochemical pathways for various floral fragrances in snapdrogan, petunia and rose.
8. Engineering of plants to delay leaf senescence (yellowing) is also being pursued in ornamental crops by repressing cytokinins, which is involved in loss of chlorophyll.
9. Secondary metabolite production by in vitro culture is being done in many plants. E.g. shikonin production.
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