A couple of short notes:
Natural mutations happen in very isolated and small numbers. Spreading man-
made mutant bacteria over many tens or hundreds of thousands of acres, in fact
increasing numbers of acres, just by tracking them around is of different
Man-made genetically modified Rhizobium selected for the two characteristics
mentioned, multiplying amounts of nitrogen fixed (which the plant may be very
desirous of) and resistance to a natural predator simultaneously changes the
scene by geometric magnitudes.
The only reason for mentioning the direct transfer of bacteria gene attributes
is it can happen as well with these, "super nitrogen fixers."
The amount of mutations taking place in the gut compared with Monsanto's
laboratory is not what is being spoken of here. We are talking about a
company producing whatever the market will bear of a genetically modified
bacteria to on purpose release throughout the US and other environments that
does not die out simply. And that bacteria has certain attributes that make
it a superlative survivor in the wild.
Genetically modified Bt may have not taken over the world because it is dead
or nonexistent (only the toxin is there) when it is applied. EPA's
requirement for its release by Mycogen was that it be dead. Non genetically
modified Bt has not taken over the world because it lives on leaf eating
caterpillars and when they run out, it goes dormant or dies. There are
controls inherent because it is a strain that developed and has imposed
limitations on its survival ability.
The issue here has nothing to do with your opinion or mine, nothing to do with
you being willing to have genetically modified soil bacteria released next
door to your house, or me objecting next to my house. The world is about to
become small; a battle is about to be carried out in the soil. That battle
has many ramifications, not the least the massive spread of live bacteria more
resistant than normal to two strains of well known bacteria antibiotics and
the introduction of a what is believed to be a superlative nitrogen fixer.
The bacteria have to our knowledge never been seen on earth before. Nice
experiment. Projected outcomes? Will this truly benefit society and future
quality of environment and human life? What are the real risks?
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