Agricultural genetics for food security

Published on December 1, 2013   33 min

A selection of talks on Genetics & Epigenetics

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Hello. This is Robert Henry, professor of innovation and agriculture from the University of Queensland. Today I'll be talking about agricultural genetics for food security. In this lecture, I will provide an overview of the application of genetics to the challenge of food security.
Food security can be defined in several ways. Food security can be defined simply as providing sufficient food to satisfy human demand. However, ongoing food security requires that food be delivered in a sustainable way. Food security also requires that food production be protected from the risks of crop failure associated with adverse climatic events.
We need more than just a sufficient quantity of food, but rather, food of sufficient quality required to support healthy human populations. This is more than just the calories and protein that will maintain human life. We need food that promotes human health and enhances life expectancy.
Concern about food security stems from growing population growth. The world population has passed seven billion recently and will add billions more over the next decades. The graph presented here projects world population forward to mid-century.
The growth in demand for food is compounded by the growth in demand per person. This factor is as significant, if not more significant, than population growth in driving increased demand for food. Growing affluence has resulted in greater food consumption, especially in Asian countries. While almost one billion people are still short of food, almost two billion are suffering from the effects of eating too much food.