See this Newsweek article on how genetic modification could end world hunger.
That's probably excessively optimistic as long as sub-Saharan Africa's fertility rate remains above 5. However, in large parts of the world big boosts in farm productivity will reduce the number of acres under plow and probably enable a lot more land to return to natural state. This will reduce the rate of species extinction and make the human race less vulnerable to mega disasters (say a VEI 7 or 8 volcano like Santorini or even bigger).
Genetic engineering of plants will also play a big role in textiles. How a plant that makes silk? Or make cotton better than the best cotton available today.
I also see plant and microorganism genetic engineering as absolutely essential for colonizing Mars. It will not be practical to replicate the vast majority of Earth industry on Mars both due to the cost of shipping the capital equipment and also due a population too small to support many industries. But plants and microorganisms (e.g. yeast) can be genetically engineered to produce assorted pharmaceuticals and specialist chemicals for a variety of applications. This will allow a much smaller civilization to produce a much larger assortment of products.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2015 May 23 07:37 PM|