A don, Mr Femi Aluko, on Tuesday urged the Federal Government to deepen efforts toward use of genetic engineering in agriculture for sustainability, food security and production of novel biomaterials.
Aluko, who is a Lecturer, Department of Community Health, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
According to him, genetic engineering allows for the transfer of DNA between organisms, whether closely or distantly related.
“This sets a stage for potentially extremely beneficial advancement in crop breeding as we can derive more of the materials in the future from plants and animals produced by our farmers,’’ the lecturer said.
NAN reports that genetic engineering also known as genetic modification is the direct manipulation of an organism’s genome using biotechnology.
It is a set of technologies used to change the genetic makeup of cells, including the transfer of genes within and across species boundaries to produce improved or novel organisms.
Aluko said that genetic engineering would enable Nigerian farmers to play a vital role in the nation’s future economic prosperity in addition to their role in food production.
According to him, the method can also be applied to produce plants useful for control of desertification and erosion, and large-scale plantation, among others.
“It will definitely help the nation to strengthen efforts toward economic diversification, especially through enhanced agricultural production,’’ the don stressed.
He, however, called for regulation of the adoption of transgenic biotechnology, saying that this was necessary to checkmate excess in using genetic engineering to boost agriculture produce.