Continuous increase in population has unbalanced the demand and supply of agricultural produce. In this scenario, food security in a sustainable manner is being challenged due to several factors. Insect pests are considered as one of the major factors, which accounts for 35–100% crop damage, worldwide. Synthetic insecticides contributed significantly, but several safety concerns are associated with them. Transgenic crops with enhanced biotic or abiotic stress tolerance have shown promising contribution in achieving greater crop productivity. Transgenic cotton expressing Cry toxin of Bacillus thuringiensis has tremendously increased the production as well as the societal status of farmers in our country. However, a concomitant increase in the population of minor pests like aphids, whiteflies and others has demanded certain new approaches. Researchers have isolated several other toxic proteins like lectins, protease inhibitors, amylase inhibitors, chitinases, and tried various novel approaches like gene pyramiding, tissue specific expression and modulation in metabolites expression to combat emerging problems of insect pests. Conversely, the emergence of a new type of crop insect pests demands more specific effort for each insect. Besides this, there are several safety and ethical concerns that are associated with the use of genetically modified crops, which also need to be resolved as per demand. Development of a dedicated scientific forum for the proper demonstration of advantages and disadvantages of genetically modified crops to the citizens at ground level might be useful in resolving the societal and ethical concerns in our country.
Part of the book: Abiotic and Biotic Stress in Plants