Biotechnology — and genetically modification (GM) of crops in particular — is often portrayed as a dangerous tool promoted by Western multinationals with little regard for poor farmers.
In this article in The Daily Star, Zeba I. Seraj, of Dhaka University's department of biochemistry and molecular biology, attempts to dispel fears about what she calls 'the biotechnology trap'. Writing in response to an earlier article in The Daily Star, Sera says that if used appropriately, biotechnology could greatly increase crop production in Bangladesh.
Sera points out that crops in Bangladesh are more vulnerable than Western crops to disease, drought, salinity, and flooding. For this reason, local researchers need to develop varieties able to resist these factors. This will require popular support for government-funded research in agricultural biotechnology, she says. Biotechnology is not just GM, adds Sera. It can also be used to diagnose disease, to accelerate breeding practices, and to catalogue biodiversity.