The Importance of Agricultural Biotechnology in the Response to the Effects of Climate Change

Vol. 29 No. 1

Ms. Marrapese is a partner at Keller & Heckman LLP in Washington, DC. Mr. Matthews is counsel at Sidley Austin LLP in Washington, DC. 

The scope and pace of technological advances in agricultural biotechnology are without precedent in human history. Methods have been developed to improve the nutritional content of foods, combat pests in more sustainable and less environmentally malign ways, increase agricultural productivity throughout the world, and make commercially viable agriculture possible under ecologically stressful conditions. The initial wave of agricultural biotechnologies focused primarily on genetically engineering plants to produce exogenously derived proteins to usefully alter phenotypes. Technologies now being developed for commercialization take the more subtle approach of precisely modulating the expression of specific genes within the plant. These agricultural biotechnologies can play a significant role in the global community’s need to adapt to potential impacts of climate change on current agricultural production.

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