In this chapter, we first define what is meant by plant biotechnology. We then trace the history from its earliest beginnings rooted in traditional plant biotechnology, followed by classical plant biotechnology, and, currently, modern plant biotechnology. Plant biotechnology is now center stage in the fields of alternative energy involving biogas production, bioremediation that cleans up polluted land sites, integrative medicine that involves the use of natural products for treatment of human diseases, sustainable agriculture that involves practices of organic farming, and genetic engineering of crop plants that are more productive and effective in dealing with biotic and abiotic stresses. The primary toolbox of biotechnology utilizes the latest methods of molecular biology, including genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and systems biology. It aims to develop economically feasible production of specifically designed plants that are grown in a safe environment and brought forth for agricultural, medical, and industrial applications.
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