Biotechnology includes a wide range of technologies such as tissue culture, protoplast fusion, cell mutagenesis, genetic engineering, etc. Together these comprise a powerful technical force to produce or modify biological products according to specific objectives. The development of in vitro technique and genetic engineering for crop improvement has progressed in the last 30 years.
The development of gene vector systems and various genetic transformation techniques have catalyzed progress in plant genetic engineering in the recent past. Transgenic plants refer to those plants in which functional foreign genes have been inserted in their genomes.
In Bangladesh, some Government institutions have been involved on biotechnological researchers in Bangladesh. These include University of Dhaka, Rajshahi University, Chittagong University, BAU Mymensing, Bangladesh Forest Research Institute (BFRI), Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture (BINA), Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI), Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute (BARI) and Bango Bandhu Sheikh Mojibor Rahman Agriculture University (BSMRAU). In addition there are some Non-Government Organization (NGO) and private enterprises like, 1) BRAC, 2) Proshika, 3) Grameen Krishi Foundation, 4) Bangladesh Seed Foundation, 5) CARE Bangladesh, 6) PROVA, 7) Syngenta, 8) World Vision Bangladesh, 9) Agriculture Marketing Company Ltd. (AMCL), 10) Alpha Agro Ltd. are also involved with biotechnological researches. The Department of Agricultural Extension, RDRS and BRDB have implemented the extension of genetically modified crops.
Genetic Engineering in Agriculture
Agriculture is a cultural tradition of thousands of years. Our life, livelihood, economy, culture, sorrows-happiness and everything else have been set with agriculture. So long there have been no reasons for looking back for loss or gain. But with the combination of mechanical and technological arts with agriculture, the justification for loss-gain has started. Agriculture as enriched by the experience of the farmers for thousands of years falls prey to the invasion of mechanical technologies in the recent past. It was followed by hybrids and the latest addition in the series has been the Genetic Engineering (GE) or Genetically Modified Organism (GMO).
In spite of the known and potential dangers of GMO, the multinational companies, their local agents in collaboration with the local vested authority, have been actively planning for introduction and extension of GMO rice and other products into Bangladesh for their evil business gains.