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Genomics technology and the future of food security and human health

Genomics technology and the future of food security and human health
May 03
07:00 2022

Feeding the world is a humanitarian as well as a scientific venture that involves the aggregation of effort, starting with farmers and breeders that involve policymakers and governments. The many-sided nature of different cultures or geographic systems, alongside changing needs, technological innovation, and environments, have made universal solutions for sustained food security difficult.

Although there are severalchallenges, so many opportunities are available to increase the productivity level and efficiency of current agricultural practices. One such powerful tool at our disposal is genomics. In medicine, genomics has a huge opportunity to make a genetic diagnosis of disease more efficient and cost-effective through thereduction of genetic testing to one analysis that guides humans all through life. Genomics studies the genome (all the information that a person’s genes provide), which includes how those genes interactwith each other and the environment.It is an interdisciplinary field of biology that looks at the structure, function, evolution, mapping, andediting of genomes.

It is important to realize that genomics could make possible a new phase of tailored therapies, although with some barriers to the integration of such data into routine clinical care. In addition, available bioinformatics tools are considerably advanced to allow the rapid processing of raw sequence data into a ready-to-use form for severalpurposes. For instance, a high level of information regarding disease-causing bacteria can be derived with sequencing to reveal how harmful disease-causing agents can be characterized in food samples.

In genomics, one of the basictechnologies is sequencing, and we should expect just as much progressover the next decade like the last one, with the ability to sequence DNA anytime we want it and from differentsources on demand. A second area is Microscopy, which has progressed from having the eye as the primary data-capture tool along with human brains for decoding to diverse and sensitive photon or electron detectors working with sophisticated computational methods for possible remodeling and interpretation. The blend of both electrons (EM) technology and photons at different wavelengths and different collection modes can offer phenomenalresolution and widthoffield.

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Moreover, deeplearning techniques that have driven so much innovation in tech,have also found great use in genomics, right from the analysis of images to theinterpreting of DNA sequences. The future is definitely brighter with all of these working together, and being utilized in different areas of life sciences, from fundamental basic science to applications in health, especially genomics.

In agriculture, genomics helps improve and design crops with higher resistance to factors that influence their growth such as pests, diseases, drought, frost, and floods among others. It also breedsdiseaseresistant, superior quality livestock and a healthier herd. Theimplications of the foregoing are diverse, especially because matters of food (insecurity) are a vital human security challenge. African countries haveexperienced numerous forms of conflicts and economic instability that could be associated with food insecurity and health. Deliberate studies to better understand such information could considerably improve results in the area of foodborne illness investigations.

Furthermore, precision medicine is one of the uses of genomics in the field of medicine that allows tailored information about a patients genetic makeup to decide on the specific type of treatment they require. Although some targeted therapies that lay emphasis on specific genomic data have already been utilized in medical practice (such as some targeted cancer therapies), the potential for this to expand into all other areas of medicine will be very significant. The precision medicine community and population health community would realize that they have a whole lot in common.

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Conservationists have made use of the genomic sequencing data to evaluate key factors that are involved in the conversation of a species. For example, the genetic diversity of a population or the heterogeneity of an individual for a hereditary condition (with a recessive inheritance pattern) can be used to predict the health and conservation of the population. This data can also be useful in determining the effects of evolutionary processes and picking up genetic patterns of a specific population, including humans and animals. Insights into these patterns can help to devise plans to support the species and enable it to thrive into the future.

Although it was first applied in the food industry by plant biotechnologists to manipulate plant biosynthetic pathways, the use of genomic technologies has now spread within the agriculture sector, revealing a host of new applications (such as approaches for producing new, non-transgenic plant varietals; identification of genetic markers to guide plant and animal breeding programs; exploring diet-gene interactions for improving product quality and plantanimal health). For example, an overview of the complete DNA sequence of cultivated potatoes has the potential to greatly facilitate breeding, which has been an ambition of scientists and plant breeders alike for severalyears already. With gene information onhand, scientists can more easily identify gene variants responsible for what is desirable using data analysis.

Beyond agricultural production, genomic technologies are used to improve food processing, safety, and quality assurance as well as the development of functional food products, and the evolution of new health management concepts such as personalized nutrition this is an emerging area in which the diet of an individual is tailored, based on their genome configuration to drastically improve health and prevent disease.

The cost of genome sequencing has been greatly reduced, making genome-based technologies more affordable for wider adoption for strategic purposes as well as for routine monitoring. Food production facilities can use this option for smart sampling an investigative tool for pathogen detection, food source tracking, microbial profiling, determining the fate of spoilage during food processing, post sanitization, and general facility surveillance activities. Engaging these methods will allow the food processing facility to employ corrective actions to control or eliminate spoilage organisms by giving a greater understanding of how it enters the facility due to efficient monitoring.

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Genomics is transforming the way wethink about healthcare. It provides us with a more detailed understanding of what causes illness and infectious diseases. It is assisting with the development of new interventions that we wouldnt have dared a decade ago. We are at a very important point in the history of genomic healthcare. This is because rapidly decreasing sequencing costs alongside increased computing power imply that we are able to compare and better understand the human genetic code. We are very well-positioned to make use of tech advancements in our understanding of genomics to respond quickly to evolving threats.

In conclusion, communication, behavioral, and social scientists should work together with genomic researchers and data scientists to engage withpractical and unbiased research questions that have relevance for individuals, communities, healthcare providers, and those in the public health and policy area. The use of genome editing in plants and livestock impliesthat the technology is able to contributeto the promotion of more environmentally sustainable agriculture. These could also help to end hunger and achieve food security. Further developments in increasing the sustainability of current food production practices are much needed in the face of challenges such as climate changes and population growth. Individual and organizational researchers cancollaborate with one another to access research funds, while they focus on efforts to unravel the complexities of the human and plant genome, identify the genomic underpinnings of human health, food safety, and disease, and ensure that genomics is applied responsibly to improve patient care and benefit society. I remain Yours in tech, Olufemi Ariyo email: [email protected]

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