Biotechnology

According to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) of United Nations (UN), biotechnology means “any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products and processes for specific use.”

For the past thousands of years, traditional fermentation procedures have been used by mankind to produce foodstuff such as wine, bread, yogurt and beer, and it was not until the findings regarding the DNA structure and development of new technologies that we have reached the so-called “modern biotechnology,” which combines genetics, molecular biology and biochemical techniques, among other scientific areas, for the improvement of plants, animals and microorganisms, in addition to other applications in health and manufacturing industry.

Brazil enacted its first biosafety legislation in 1995. Ten years later, the country’s regulatory framework in force was Law 11,105, of March 24, 2005, known as the Biosafety Law, which established safety rules and monitoring mechanisms of activities using genetically modified organisms and their by-products. Additionally, it created the National Biosafety Council, restructured the National Technical Commission on Biosafety, and set out the National Biosafety Policy.

In the scope of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety establishes safety measures regarding transfer, handling and use of living modified organisms (LMOs), specifically considering transboundary movements. The protocol – which was ratified by 141 countries – is an integral part of CBD and entered into force in 2003.

Is to contribute to ensuring an adequate level of protection in the field of the safe transfer, handling and use of living modified organisms (LMOs), focusing on.

BIOTECHNOLOGY APPLIED TO AGRICULTURE AND AGRIBUSINESS

Genetic engineering techniques caused a radical change in plant research, having been adopted as another technological alternative to the efficient cultivation of plants with reduction in losses due to plagues, diseases and adverse climate conditions, and the consequent increase in crop yields.

The use of biotechnology, together with other agricultural techniques, is an essential tool for development of a more modern and sustainable agriculture. According to UN’s data, the world’s population will total 9 billion persons in 2050, which puts even more pressure to increase food supply, particularly in countries most affected by poverty.

Currently, 170.3 million hectares are cultivated with genetically modified plants worldwide, which includes corn, soy and cotton. Out of this total, Brazil accounts for 36.6 million hectares, which makes the country an agricultural power and consolidates its strategic position as an important exporter (ISAAA, 2012). The cultivation of transgenic plants in the country started in 1996. Today, there are several genetically modified products approved for soy, corn and cotton.