Keynote lecture agricultural biotechnology

Charles J. Arntzen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Of all the technologies used to increase the global food supply in the last millennium, plant genetics and crop breeding have had arguably the greatest impact. In the last half of the last century, these fields of science have increasingly adopted cellular and molecular techniques for 'conventional breeding' of food crops. In addition, over the last two decades, direct manipulations of DNA to create 'transgenic crops' have added a new tool to crop improvement. The outcome of the new technologies has been dramatic increases in crop yield; global per capita food production has increased 140% over the last 50 years during a period when the global population has doubled to its current level of about 6 billion persons. However, continued technology advances are needed to ensure an adequate food supply for the anticipated 4 billion additional inhabitants that will populate this planet in the next 50 years. Preferably, these advances will increase the yield of crops per unit of currently available arable land, thereby preventing the further degradation of ecosystems not now used for farming. Genetic technologies offer our best opportunity to increase yields while protecting the environment. In addition, genetic technologies will allow us to improve foods for improved nutrition and health maintenance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)805-809
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2001


  • Biodiversity
  • Crop domestication
  • Edible vaccine
  • Transgenic plants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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