Modern era: British Agricultural Revolution and Green Revolution.

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Modern era: British Agricultural Revolution and Green Revolution.

After 1492, a global exchange of previously local crops and livestock breeds1 occurred. Key crops involved in this exchange included the tomato, maize, potato, manioc, cocoa bean and tobacco going from the New World to the Old, and several varieties of wheat, spices2, coffee, and sugar cane going from the Old World to the New. The most important animal exportation from the Old World to the New were those of the horse and dog.

The potato became an important staple crop in northern Europe. Since being introduced by Portuguese in the 16th century, maize and manioc have replaced traditional African crops as the continent's most important staple food crops.

By the early 1800s, agricultural techniques, implements, seed stocks and cultivated plants3 had so improved that yield per land unit was many times that seen in the Middle Ages. With the rapid rise of mechanization in the late 19th and 20th centuries, particularly in the form of the tractor. These advances have led to efficiencies enabling certain modern farms in the United States, Argentina, Israel, Germany, and a few other nations to output volumes of high-quality produce per land unit. In the past century agriculture has been characterized by productivity, the substitution of labor for synthetic fertilizers and pesticides4.

The cereals, rice, corn, and wheat provide 60% of human food supply. Between 1700 and 1980, "the total area of cultivated land worldwide increased 466%" and yields increased dramatically, particularly because of selectively-bred high-yielding varieties,5 fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation, and machinery. For example, irrigation increased corn yields in eastern Colorado by 400 to 500% from 1940 to 1997.

Intensive agriculture has become associated with decreased soil quality in India and Asia. The monocultures typically used in intensive agriculture increase the number of pests, which are controlled through pesticides. Integrated pest management (IPM)6, which has been promoted for decades and has had some notable success. Although the "Green Revolution" significantly increased rice yields in Asia, yield increases have not occurred in the past 15–20 years. The genetic "yield potential" has increased for wheat, but the yield potential for rice has not increased since 1966. It takes a decade or two for herbicide-resistant weeds7 to emerge, and insects become resistant to insecticides within about a decade. Crop rotation helps to prevent resistances.

Agricultural exploration expeditions, since the late nineteenth century, have been mounted to find new species and new agricultural practices in different areas of the world. Two early examples of expeditions include Frank N. Meyer's fruit- and nut-collecting trip to China and Japan from 1916-1918 and the Dorsett-Morse Oriental Agricultural Exploration Expedition to China, Japan, and Korea from 1929-1931 to collect soybean germplasm8 to support the rise in soybean agriculture in the United States.

In 2005, the agricultural output9 of China was the largest in the world, accounting for almost one-sixth of world share, followed by the EU, India and the USA. Six countries - the US, Canada, France, Australia, Argentina and Thailand - supply 90% of grain exports. The United States controls almost half of world grain exports. Water deficits, which are already spurring heavy grain imports in numerous middle-sized countries, including Algeria, Iran, Egypt, and Mexico, may soon do the same in larger countries, such as China or India.


1 livestock breeds- породы с/х животных

2 spices-пряности

3 cultivated plants-возделываемые растения

4 synthetic fertilizers and pesticides- синтетические минеральные удобрения и пестициды

5 selectively-bred high- yielding varieties-селекционные высоко плодородные сорта

6 integrated pest management-комплексный контроль за насекомыми -вредителями

7 herbicide-resistant weeds- сорняки, устойчивые к действию гербицидов

8 soybean germplasm- протоплазма соевых бобов

9 agricultural output- выпуск с/х продукции

Crop production1 systems.

Cropping systems vary among farms depending on the available resources, geography and climate of the farm, government policy, economic, social and political pressures, the philosophy and culture of the farmer. Shifting cultivation2 (or slash and burn) is a system in which forests are burnt, releasing nutrients to support cultivation of annualand then perennial crops3 for a period of several years. Then the plot is left fallow to regrow forest, and the farmer moves to a new plot, returning after many more years (10-20). This period is shortened if population density4 grows. Annual cultivation is the next phase of intensity in which there is no fallow period. This requires even greater nutrient and pest control inputs.

Further industrialization lead to the use of monocultures, when one cultivar5 is planted on a large acreage. Multiple cropping, in which several crops are grown sequentially in one year, and intercropping, when several crops are grown at the same time are other kinds of annual cropping systems known as polycultures.

In tropical environments, all of these cropping systems are practiced. In subtropical and arid environments, the timing and extent of agriculture may be limited by rainfall, either not allowing multiple annual crops in a year, or requiring irrigation. In all of these environments perennial crops are grown (coffee, chocolate). In temperate environments6, where ecosystems were predominantly grassland or prairie, highly productive annual cropping is the dominant farming system.

The last century has seen the intensification, concentration and specialization of agriculture, relying upon new technologies of agricultural chemicals (fertilizers and pesticides), mechanization, and plant breeding (hybrids and GMO's7).


1 crop production- растениеводство

2 shifting cultivation-изменяющееся возделывание почвы ( вырубка и сжигание)

3 annual, perennial crops- однолетние, многолетние культуры

4 population density- плотность населения

5cultivar- культура

6temperate environments- умеренный климат

7GMO’s-измененный генетический код

Вариант №3.

Transgenic plants.

Transgenic plants1have been engineered to possess several desirable traits, including resistance to pests, herbicides or harsh environmental conditions2, improved product shelf life, and increased nutritional value. Since the first commercial cultivation of genetically modified plants in 1996, they have been modified to be tolerant to the herbicides glufosinate and glyphosate, to be resistant to virus damage as in Ringspot virus3 resistant GM papaya, grown in Hawaii, and to produce the Bt toxin, a potent insecticide. Most of transgenic varieties grown today are known as first generation transgenics4, because the transgenic trait provides benefits to farmers. Plants of the second generation should directly benefit the consumer with nutritional enhancement, taste, texture etc. Transgenic plants of the second generation are being developed by both public research institutions and private companies. However currently there is no such transgenic variety5 on the market. Genetically modified sweet potatoes have been enhanced with protein and other nutrients, while golden rice, developed by the International Rice Research Institute, has been discussed as a possible cure for Vitamin A deficiency. In January 2008, scientists altered a carrot so that it would produce calcium and become a possible cure for osteoporosis; however, people would need to eat 1.5 kilograms of carrots per day to reach the required amount of calcium.

The coexistence6 of GM plants with conventional and organic crops has raised significant concern in many European countries. Since there is separate legislation for GM crops7 and a high demand from consumers for the freedom of choice between GM and non-GM foods, measures are required to separate foods and feed produced from GMO plants from conventional and organic foods. European research programmes such are investigating appropriate tools and rules. At the field level, biological containment methods include isolation distances and pollen barriers.


1transgenic plants-трансгенные растения

2 resistance to pests, herbicides or harsh environmental conditions-устойчивость к насекомым-вредителям, гербицидам и неблагоприятным климатическим условиям

3 ring spot virus-вирус кольцевой гнили

4 first generation transgenic-первое поколение трансгенной продукции

5 transgenic variety- трасгенный сорт

6 coexistence-сосуществование

7separate legislation-отдельные правовые нормативы на ГМ культуры

Cisgenic plants.

While conventional transgenic plants are developed by introduction of a gene originating from distant, sexually incompatible species into the host genome, cisgenic plants contain genes which have been isolated either directly from the host species or from sexually compatible species. The new genes are however introduced using recombinant DNA methods2 and gene transfer.3 Principally the same result could be obtained by classical breeding4. However the disadvantage of classical breeding is that with one desired trait also a number of undesired traits5 are transferred and the number of backcrosses necessary to remove these undesired traits approaches infinity. Some scientist hope that the approval process of cisgenic plants might be simpler than that of proper transgenics, but it remains to be seen.


1cisgenic plants- цисгенные растения

2 recombinant DNA methods-смешанные методы ДНК

3gene transfer-пересадка гена

4 classical breeding- классическое выведение сорта

5undesired traits-нежелательная характерная черта

Biological process.

The use of GMOs has sparked significant controversy in many areas. Some groups or individuals see the generation and use of GMO as intolerable meddling with biological states or processes that have naturally evolved over long periods of time, while others are concerned about the limitations of modern science to fully comprehend all of the potential negative ramifications of genetic manipulation.


The safety of GMOs in the foodchain1 has been questioned by some environmental groups, with concerns such as the possibilities that GMOs could introduce new allergens into foods, or contribute to the spread of antibiotic resistance2. Although all studies conducted to date have shown no adverse health effects resulting from eating genetically modified foods, environmental groups still discourage consumption in many countries, claiming that GM foods are unnaturaland thereforeunsafe3. Such concerns have led to the adoption of laws and regulations that require safety testing of any new organism produced for human consumption.

GM proponents note that because of the safety testing requirements imposed on GM foods, the risk of introducing a plant variety with a new allergene or toxin using genetic modification is much smaller than using traditional breeding processes. An example of an allergenic plant created using traditional breeding include is the kiwi.


1foodchain-магазины по продаже продовольствия

2antibiotic resistance- устойчивость к антибиотикам

3unnatural and unsafe- неестественный и небезопасный

Trade in Europe and Africa.

In response to negative public opinion, it was announced to remove seed cereal business from Europe. Some African nations have refused emergency food aid from developed countries, fearing that the food is unsafe. During a conference in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, Kingsley Amoako, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA1), encouraged African nations to accept genetically modified food and expressed dissatisfaction in the public’s negative opinion of biotechnology.


1 the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)-экономическая комиссия по Африке при ООН.


Вариант №4.

Agricultural surpluses1.

Chairman of the UK Food Group, accused some governments, especially the US administration, of using GM food aid as a way to dispose of unwanted agricultural surpluses. The UN blamed food companies2 of violating human rights, calling on governments to regulate these profit-driven firms. It is widely believed that the acceptance of biotechnology and genetically modified foods will also benefit rich research companies and could possibly benefit them more than consumers in underdeveloped nations.


While some groups advocate the complete prohibition of GMOs, others call for mandatory labeling3 of genetically modified food or other products.


1agricultural surpluses-избытки с/х продукции

2The UN blamed food companies -ООН предъявила обвинения продовольственным компаниям

3mandatory labeling—обязательная маркировка продукции , содержащая ГМО.

Underdeveloped nations.

Some groups believe that underdeveloped nations will not reap the benefits of biotechnology because they do not have easy access to these developments, cannot afford modern agricultural equipment, and certain aspects of the system revolving around intellectual property rights are unfair to undeveloped countries. For example, The CGIAR (Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research)1 is an aid and research organization that has been working to achieve sustainable food security and decrease poverty in undeveloped countries since its formation in 1971. In an evaluation of CGIAR, the World Bank praised its efforts but suggested a shift to genetics research and productivity enhancement. This plan has several obstacles such as patents, commercial licenses, and the difficulty that third world countries have in accessing the international collection of genetic resources and other intellectual property rights that would educate them about modern technology. The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture2has attempted to remedy this problem, but results have been inconsistent. As a result, "orphan crops3", such as teff, millets, cowpeas4, and indigenous plants5, are important in the countries where they are grown, but receive little investment.


1 The CGIAR (Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research)-

Международная консультативная группа по вопросам исследования сельского хозяйства

2The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture-Международный договор по генетическим ресурсам продуктов питания и сельского хозяйства

3” orphan crops”- «сиротские культуры»

4teff; millets; cowpeas- метличка абиссинская; просо; вигна китайская, фасоль

5 indigenous plants-местные растения

Private investments.

The development and implementation of policies designed to encourage private investments in research and marketing biotechnology that will meet the needs of poverty-stricken nations, increased research on other problems faced by poor nations, and joint efforts1 by the public and private sectors to ensure the efficient use of technology developed by industrialized nations have been suggested. In addition, industrialized nations have not tested GM technology2 on tropical plants, focusing on those that grow in temperate climates,3 even though undeveloped nations and the people that need the extra food live primarily in tropical climates. Many European scientists are disturbed4 by the fact that political factors and ideology prevent unbiased assessment of the GM technology5 in some EU countries.


1 joint efforts-совместные усилия

2GM technology-ГМ технологии

3temperate climates- умеренный климат

4scientists are disturbed- ученые обеспокоены

5unbiased assessment of the GM technology-беспристрастная сумма обложения налогом ГМ технологий

Transgenic organisms.1

Another important controversy2 is the possibility of unforeseen local and global effects as a result of transgenic organisms proliferating. 3

Some critics have raised the concern that conventionally-bred crop plants4 can be cross-pollinated5 (bred) from the pollen6of modified plants. Pollen can be dispersed over large areas by wind, animals and insects. In 2007, the U.S. Department of Agriculture7 fined Scotts Miracle-Gro8 $500,000 when modified genetic material from creeping bentgrass9 was found within close relatives of the same genus (Agrostis) as well as in native grasses up to 21 km (13 miles) away from the test sites, released when freshly cut grass was blown by the wind.

GM proponents point out that outcrossing10, as this process is known, is not new. The same thing happens with any new open-pollinated crop variety—newly introduced traits can potentially cross out into neighboring crop plants of the same species and, in some cases, to closely related wild relatives. Defenders of GM technology11 point out that each GM crop is assessed on a case-by-case basis to determine if there is any risk associated with the outcrossing of the GM trait into wild plant populations. The fact that a GM plant may outcross with a related wild relative is not, in itself, a risk unless such an occurrence has negative consequences. If, for example, an herbicide resistance trait was to cross into a wild relative of a crop plant it can be predicted that this would not have any consequences except in areas where herbicides are sprayed, such as a farm. In such a setting the farmer can manage this risk by rotating herbicides.

The European Union funds research programmes that investigate options and technologies on the co-existence of GM and conventional farming. This also includes research on biological containment strategies and other measures, to prevent outcrossing and enable the implementation of co-existence.

If patented genes12 are outcrossed, even accidentally, to other commercial fields and a person deliberately selects the outcrossed plants for subsequent planting then the patent holder has the right to control the use of those crops.


1transgenic organisms- трансгенные организмы

2controversy- бесспорно

3transgenic organisms proliferating-разрастание трансгенных организмов

4conventionally-bred crop plants- традиционно выведенные с/х культуры

5cross-pollinated-перекрестное опыление

6the pollen- пыльца

7the U.S. Department of Agriculture –Департамент сельского хозяйства США

8fined Scotts Miracle-Gro-наложил штраф на компанию Скотс Мирэкл Груп

9creeping bentgrass-ползучая трава

10outcrossing- внешнее опыление

11defenders of GM technology- защитники ГМ технологий

12patented genes- доступные гены

Вариант №5.

"Terminator"1 and "traitor.2"

"Technology Protection" is technology dubbed as 'Terminator'. This yet-to-be-commercialized technology would allow the production of first generation crops that would not generate seeds in the second generation because the plants yield sterile seeds3. The patent for this so-called "terminator" gene technology is owned by Delta and Pine Land Company and the United States Department of Agriculture. Delta and Pine Land was bought by Monsanto Company in August 2006. Similarly, the hypothetical Trait-specific Genetic Use Restriction Technology4, also known as 'Traitor' or 'T-gut', requires application of a chemical to genetically modified crops to reactivate engineered traits5. This technology is intended both to limit the spread of genetically engineered plants, and to require farmers to pay yearly to reactivate the genetically engineered traits of their crops. Traitor is under development by companies including Monsanto and AstraZeneca.

In addition to the commercial protection of proprietary technology6 in self-pollinating crops such as soybean (a generally contentious issue), another purpose of the terminator gene is to prevent the escape of genetically modified traits from cross-pollinating crops into wild-type species7 by sterilizing any resultant hybrids. Ironically, the terminator gene technology created a backlash8 among the same groups that considered out crossing of GM plants dangerous. They felt the technology would prevent re-use9 of seed by farmers growing such terminator varieties in the developing world and was ostensibly a means to exercise patent claims.10

Hybrid seeds11 were commonly used in the developed countries long before the introduction of GM crops. Hybrid seeds cannot be saved, so purchasing new seed every year is already a standard agricultural practice.

There are technologies evolving which contain the transgene by biological means and still can provide fertile seeds using fertility restorer functions.12 Such methods are being developed by several EU research programmes.


1terminator-«терминатор», (последовательность нуклеотидов оперона и транскрибируемой на нем мРНК, обуславливающая прекращение (терминацию) синтеза РНК; агент обрывающий цепь

2traitor-«изменник», «предатель»

3sterile seeds-стерильные семена

4hypothetical Trait-specific Genetic Use Restriction Technology-предположительная технология использования специфических генетических особенностей

5engineered traits-инженерные особенности

6proprietary technology-патентованная технология

7wild-type species-дикие виды

8backlash-отрицательная реакция

9re-use- вторичное использование

10patent claims-патентные требования

11hybrid seeds- гибридные семена

12restorer functions-функции восстановителя

Governmental support and opposition.1


Several states of Australia had placed bans2 on planting GM food crops, beginning in 2003.However, in late 2007 the states of New South Wales and Victoria lifted their bans3. Western Australia lifted their state's ban in December 2008, while South Australia continues its ban. Tasmania has extended its moratorium until November 2014. The state of Queensland has allowed the growing of GM crops since 1995 and has never had a GM ban.


In 2005, a standing committee4 of the government of Prince Edward Island (PEI) in Canada assessed a proposal to ban the production of GMOs in the province. The ban was not passed. As of January 2008, the use of genetically modified crops on PEI was rapidly increasing. Mainland Canada is one of the world's largest producers of GM canola.5


As of 2009, Japan has no commercial farming of any kinds of genetically modified food. Consumers have strongly resisted both imports and attempts to grow GMO in the country. Campaigns by consumer groups and environmental groups, such as Consumers Union of Japan6and Greenpeace Japan, as well as local campaigns, have been very successful. In Hokkaido, a special bylaw has made it virtually impossible to grow GMOs, as the No! GMO Campaign collected over 200,000 signatures to oppose GMO farming. Consumers Union of Japan participated at the Planet Diversity conference in Bonn, Germany on May 12-16, 2008, a global congress on the future of food and agriculture, with a demonstration to celebrate biodiversity, to oppose GMOs.


1governmental support and opposition- правительственная поддержка и оппозиция


3lifted bans–снял запреты

4standing committee- постоянный комитет

5canola- канола (разновидность рапса, название, которое дала своему продукту канадская генно-инженерная фирма Can (ada) o (il) l (ow) a(cid)

6consumers Union of Japan-союз потребителей Японии

Строительный факультет.


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