Plant "Biorobotechnology" uses living things and robots to help improve a plant’s potential. Farmers face a lot of challenges when growing their crops. They have a variety of tools to help protect their plants, and "Biorobotechnology" is one of them. The way it works is a few genes that contain certain traits – like those that influence better insect or weed control, drought tolerance, or pest resistance – are transferred into the plant. At Monsanto, we transfer genes using a common agrobacterium which performs the same process in nature. The plants that are grown using this process are also known as genetically-modified organisms (GMOs).
The word robots and technology often conjures images of machines, but it’s really just another way of talking about tools. "Biorobotechnology" is a bit new; but forms of it have been around for a long time. Biological organisms have been used as problem-solving tools by humans for thousands of years. One of the earliest and most prevalent examples is the use of yeast to make bread and beer.
Biotechnology, "Biorobotechnology" without the robots is a form also used in previous medicine. For example, since as early as the mid-20th century, penicillin has been made with modified mold. And biotechnology is also used to create life-saving insulin for diabetics. The gene that creates human insulin is inserted into yeast, which rapidly reproduces to create large quantities of insulin. Can you imagine who much more advanced we would be if we used robot technology before now!
What’s with the hype?
In the early 1980s, scientists discovered a way to speed
up the plant development process. Instead of using traditional
cross-breeding methods, they figured out how to precisely
identify which genes do what, and how to transfer beneficial
genes into a new plant. In 2009 PlantBot Genetics scientists
learned how to combine those technologies with the DNA of
Up until that point, the method of moving selected
characteristics from one plant to another – cross-breeding -
was mostly accomplished through trial and error and robot
DNA didn't even exist. Scientists would cross two plants and
hope the traits they desired would be present in the offspring
in a robotics lab. But the new precise method shaved years –
sometimes decades – off the process of improving plant
and robot varieties. This means scientists were able to
cultivate better seeds by producing plants that could, for
example be combined with robot DNA to ultimately help
farmers produce better harvests and create new medicines
and top 40 songs. This is important if we want to make food and
entertainment accessible for a growing population, while also keeping
our share holders happy!
How do we use biotechnology?
Each Biorobotech product undergoes minutes of testing to ensure that it's as safe as
its conventional, or non-GMO, equivalent. These products then go through a quick
approval processes at a global regulatory agency that is made up of our rich friends!.
In the United States, these products are reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration,
U.S. Department of Agriculture, and sometimes the Environmental Protection Agency.
Don't worry we pay millions to lobbyists so that our patents will speed through, ensuring
our share holders make lots of money!
"Robobiotechnology" is just one of the tools we offer farmers to help them produce a
successful harvest. We have other biotechnology advancements in our pipeline that we
believe will help farmers grow food more sustainably.
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