PLANT BIOTECHNOLOGY IN THE 21ST CENTURY: THE CHALLENGES AHEAD
In a world where population growth is outstripping food supply agricultural -and especially plant-biotechnology, needs to be swiftly implemented in all walks of life. Achievements today in plant biotechnology have already surpassed all previous expectations, and the future is even more promising. The full realisation of the agricultural biotechnology revolution depends on both continued successful and innovative research and development activities and on a favourable regulatory climate and public acceptance. Biotechnology should be fully integrated with classical physiology and breeding: (1) as an aid to classical breeding, (2) for generation of engineered organisms, (3) for integration of microorganisms into agricultural production systems. Biotechnology is nowadays changing the agricultural and plant scene in three major areas: (1) growth and development control (vegetative, generative and reproduction/propagation), (2) protecting plants against the ever-increasing threats of abiotic and biotic stress, (3) expanding the horizons by producing specialty foods, biochemicals and pharmaceuticals.