This book offers a comprehensive yet concise overview of plants as both biological organisms and useful resources for people to exploit. The first half of the book gives a basic outline of plant biology including how plants develop and respond to their environment, acting as a primer for those without a biology background and a refresher for students of plant biology and agriculture. These chapters set the scene for an outline of human exploitation of plants, from domestication to scientific manipulation. The complex technologies now being applied to improving crops are then described, guiding the reader through the extensive terminologies and jargon, using focus boxes to illustrate key processes and issues.
The final two chapters address society's response to biotechnology, how these technologies are being modified in response to public concerns, and new technologies being developed to meet the challenges of rapid population growth, depletion of non-renewable resources and climate change.
Contents, Preface & Glossary
PART I. PLANTS AND THEIR GENOMES
1. Plants and their exploitation by people
2. The evolution of photosynthetic organisms
3. Plant molecular genetics and genomics
PART II. HOW PLANTS FUNCTION
4. Plant metabolism
5. Plant organisation and development
6. Plant responses to the environment
PART III. HOW PLANTS ARE MANIPULATED
7. Domestication and the empirical exploitation of plants
8. The scientific manipulation of plants
9. Crop improvement in the 20th century
PART IV. PLANTS, SOCIETY AND THE FUTURE
10. Plant biotechnologies in the 21st century
11. Social context of plant biotechnologies
12. Future challenges for plant biotechnology
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