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Hungry Planet: Stories of Plant Diseases

Chapter Six. Student Resources

People Improving Plants: Genes and Genetic Engineering

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) contains the genetic code. This code must be translated into proteins that run the cellular reactions that allow organisms to grow and reproduce. Today we know the genetic code of many different organisms. Specific genes can be identified and transferred to other organisms. Genes that confer disease resistance, improved nutrition, salt tolerance, and many other agricultural benefits can be incorporated through both traditional breeding and genetic engineering. The plant-pathogenic bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens is widely used to transfer beneficial genes into plants.

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