The most significant breakthroughs in agricultural biotechnology are coming /ГМО/ from research into the structure of genomes and the genetic mechanisms behind economically important traits (Box 4). The rapidly progressing discipline of genomics is providing information on the identity, location, impact and function of genes affecting such traits – knowledge that will increasingly drive the application of biotechnology in all agricultural sectors. Genomics sets the foundation for post-genomics activities, including new disciplines such as proteomics and metabolomics to generate knowledge on gene and protein structure, as well as their functions and interactions. These disciplines seek to understand systematically the molecular biology of organisms for their practical use. A vast range of new and rapidly advancing technologies and equipment has also been developed to generate and process information about the structure and function of biological systems. The use and organization /ГМО/ of this information is called bioinformatics. Advances in bioinformatics may allow the prediction of gene function from gene sequence data: from a listing of an organism’s genes, it will become possible to build a theoretical framework of its biology. The comparison across organisms of physical and genetic maps and DNA sequences will significantly reduce the time needed to identify and select potentially useful genes. Through the production of genetic maps that provide the precise location and sequences of genes, it is apparent that even distantly related genomes share common features (Box 5). Comparative genomics assists in the understanding of many genomes based on the intensive study of just a few. For instance, the rice genome sequence is useful for studying the genomes of other cereals with which it shares features according to its degree of relatedness, and the mouse and malaria genomes provide models for livestock and some of the diseases that affect them. There are now model species for most types of crops, livestock and diseases and knowledge of their genomes is accumulating rapidly.
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