> When would corn or soybeans cease to be corn and soybeans?
> When one foreign gene is added? or two ? or ten percent?
> fifty percent? or when they finally don't look like corn or
Species are integrated systems of great complexity. No one understands
enough biology to engineer them on a systems level. Corn has something like
60,000 genes. Crop species are mainly manipulated by conventional breeding,
by sexual recombination of diverse types and selection of progeny. Compared
to the great changes that have apparently occurred over millions of years
via natural selection, all the changes we make are pretty minor. One
interesting example, and seeming exception is corn. The form and growth
habit were very much changed (apparently derived from teosinte) through
selection by humans several thousand years ago. Probably, rare mutants were
selected and propagated and this gave rise to what we call corn.
No transformation of plants this dramatic has occurred yet in the modern
period, so there are no regulatory precedents.
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