barbol @ stock.adobe.com
Synthetic seeds are lab-grown plant embryos covered with a synthetic hydrogel coating material, such as calcium alginate. These encapsulated embryoids behave like organic seeds and can be used as a substitute for their natural counterparts. Also, as bioengineered organisms, they can resist adverse field conditions.
The development of artificial seeds combines multiple techniques. It includes callus formation, a growing mass of unorganized plant cells from existing plant tissue, induction of somatic embryogenesis, and somatic embryos' maturation. One of the primary applications would be the propagation of hybrid plants while facilitating genetically-edited crops' growth.
These artificially produced seeds provide a disease-free environment for plant material to grow. By encapsulating targeted herbicides, nutrients, growth regulators, anti-pathogens, bio-controllers, and biofertilizers, it is possible to protect plants against pests and diseases. In cross-pollinated crops like maize, in which hybrids production is already a widespread practice, artificial seeds can eliminate the need to create parental lines that are costly and time-consuming.
Specific efforts to teach new agricultural methods will be needed to avoid furthering already existing gender gaps and other possible conflicts along the way.
Genetic engineering may be biased towards enhancing particular nutrients, failing to cater to the needs of specific populations and other biological conditions, besides the ones centered around men.
Has the potential to create more opportunities to achieve food security in critical areas.
It may help rural women access new and different resources to gain financial empowerment.