Genetic engineering could make jeans cheaper to produce
Genetic engineering is responsible for many products that appeal to consumers, including flowers with extended shelf life, apples that don’t turn brown after slicing and potatoes that don’t bruise. Jeans, which are common clothing in today’s society may soon benefit from the technology.
According to BIOtechNOW, genetic engineers have been able to introduce a new gene into the cotton plant from the bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). This bacterial gene benefits the crop by expressing proteins that are toxic to some insects but non-toxic for mammals. Bt bacteria has been used in the United States since its approval in 1961 by both commercial farmers and home gardeners. Its induction into the cotton plant will allow farmers to control pests that are responsible for the destruction of about 25 percent of all insect crop destruction. The genetically engineered cotton plants will be less susceptible to boll worms and bud worms and reduce farmer dependency on chemical pesticides.
Prices of production may be driven even lower by synthetically produced indigo dye, which gives blue jeans their dark blue color. The dye, which is has been produced in the past with a multi-step process that requires the use of toxic chemicals, can now be produced using bacteria that is genetically engineered and requires the use of water and corn syrup. This method yields fewer waste products. Although the process is not yet ready for commercial use, it could be promising for the future production of the popular clothing.
Organizations in this story
Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) 1201 Maryland Ave SW Washington, DC 20024