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I just saw this (email overload).
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On 13/05/99 at 2:07 PM Bob MacGregor wrote:
>You said, "....Therefore, genetic crosses MAY be
>good, while GMO's are inherently bad except as needed (really needed) to compensate for a
>worse condition, such as a rare and inherent defect.
>Here is where we part company.
Bob, that's not true. This is your email I am answering. You are keeping me company.
>For years, plant and animal breeders have bred for physical, production, shipping/handling, processing and nutritional characteristics which have nothing to do with correcting any real defect in the existing varieties. The "improvement" resulting from these breeding programs may be cosmetic only.
Yeah some people do that.
>Why is GE inherently bad?
It's invasive when that's not needed. It's unpredictable and unnecessary. It's not nice. And some other reasons I might add later.
>Is this a religious/phiolosophical statement or is it supportable by evidence that GMO's are harmful -- compared to conventionally-bred plants and animals?
Evidence? You want evidence? Sorry, I'm not giving out evidence today, just opinions. Or pronouncements, if you prefer.
My posts clearly indicate that this is clearly a gut issue - but one that can be backed by more religious, philosophical, physiological and what have you data than you can shake a stick at. You said it yourself: "Why take the risk?" (You COULD have said that). What you DID say was:
>So far, at least, the ag. GE folks are using naturally-occuring genes; they haven't synthesized completely novel ones to any degree. For many years, plant breeders have used chemical and radiation treatments to induce random mutations in plants, then screened for "improved" characteristics to breed into commercial lines; this mimics natural processes, but are these alleles "synthetic"; are they dangerous? Who assesses the risk of letting them loose in fields?
That's a good point. Doing that isn't genetics or science. It's barbaric. It shouldn't be done.
What I want is for the money, time and effort to be spent on genetic research and development that is consonant with evolution. I think that too much of the motivation is going into proprietary (no just GM) organisms. I want to see something more in the way of a real contribution and less of an economically exploitable (but freak) product.
I am not getting that intellectual about this issue. I don't even want to debate it. I'm just having a little fun with it and I'll tell ya something - I don't even eat fruit from grafted trees - (try doing that in the U.S. I've had grove owners in the LRGV tell me that you can't even GROW fruit trees from seed. Absolutely incredible ignorance. I am laughing my head off as I write this - but there is something seriously and gravely wrong with the U.S. produce industry and food supply, especially in relation to tree fruit). The point is, **I** put my money where my mouth is. I mean what I say and do what I say should be done.
>I don't think the herbicide resistance example is a good one. Suppose someone wanted to take the time to expose generations of canola plants to various concentrations of glyphosate until a resistant gene showed up which could be conventionally-bred into any number of canola lines? We wouldn't be any better or worse off except that this process is a lot faster with GE.
See, we agree. but I don't want nor will I use a canola plant that's resistant to glyphosate because I'm not using glyphosate either. So it's a mute issue.
>Now, suppose we need a really useful trait (I don't put RR in this category because of its inherent unsustainability) more quickly than breeding programs can isolate and propogate it -- say in five years instead of ten or twenty? GE would be the only viable route.
Bob you are making a shirt load of assumptions I just don't share. We gotta get specific.
>Because nature isn't static, nor perfect (at least from the perspective of human needs and wants), we can't sit back and go with the status quo. At the very least, we have to look forward to and plan for a time of dramatically more expensive inputs that are derived from fossil fuels. Rising public appreciation for the documented harmful effects of many farm chemicals (and engendered sentiment against even the least harmful of these) will likely continue to drive demand for organic products -- well in advance of rising input costs forcing conversion to more sustainable practices.
Yeah, it should be for other reasons - like quality of life.
>I just don't consider GE technology inherently malignant -- and certainly not useless for introducing traits that producers, shippers, processors, AND consumers find desirable. GE is not inherently benign technology, either.
I have said that it's place is therapeutic, and only where really needed.
>Give Saddam Hussein a good gene lab and see what he can brew up!!
Bob, I am not going to give Saddam Hussein anything. Clinton may give him a bomb though - on the nose.
>As long as we have so many scary hypotheses about the dangers of GE floating around, people will naturally take the familiar (and presumed-safe) path. The GE advocates should be just as anxious as the opponents to see that credible risk assessment work is carried out to dispell our state of ignorance about these things -- we can't hope to make informed choices in an atmosphere of confusion about how risky this techology's products are compared to the alternatives -- in the meantime, we just spin our wheels...(sort of like the discussions on SANET and other, similar lists)
Yes, you are being reasonable. But sanet is sanet and I want to see the money, time and effort going to working with and within the principles of evolutionary biological ag and biological processes. I'm not in a hurry to get somewhere I don't even want to go to. I can live and work with what we've got. I'm not spinning my wheels or buying GM seed or food. I'm not even debating this much. I'm just thoroughly and totally right. Don't you agree?
I would kind of like to post this (so everyone else can see how reasonable and civilized we are).
Bob, are you getting paid for the time taken to do these posts?
Douglas M. Hinds
Centro para el Desarrollo Comunitario y Rural, A.C. (CeDeCoR)
(Center for Community and Rural Development)
Petronilo Lopez No. 73
Cd. Guzman, Jalisco 49000 MEXICO
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
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