Thursday, October 21, 1999, 2:25:56 PM, you wrote:
>> What is dubious is that the reduced fumonisin levels underlie the
>> corportate strategy regarding why Bt corn was developed and marketed,
DW> No, the industry thought they could please their farmer/customers and add
DW> value to the seed product by controlling insect pests.
You mean capture a customer base by building in something they
themselves didn't sell, and because they lack a developed sense of the
integral natural of biological systems.
DW> I never heard mycotoxins mentioned in connection with Bt corn
DW> until the last couple months.
That's why it was said that it was a solution looking for a problem.
>> and that Bt toxins introduced in the corn genome represent the best
>> (and to the thinking of many, a valid) approach toward reducing
>> fumonisin levels
DW> Reduction in fumonisin and aflatoxin is a side benefit. The main purpose of
DW> Bt corn is control of ECB. But reduction in mycotoxin is politically
DW> important because it demonstrates a clear health benefit to the consumer
DW> from Bt corn.
And attempts to produce a more convincing sales pitch, within a sea of
unanswered questions about the medium and long terms effects on human
health and the environment while playing dice 'em and spice 'em with
the myriad of genetic "components" suddenly "liberated" from their
evolutionary contexts. As they say down south " hay que chingar pero
dejar satisfecho); (translated: the name of the game is screw 'm but
leave 'em satisfied).
>> While GMO“s can be patented, approaches of a more biological
>> (rather then biotechnological) nature, though potentially more
>> compatible with evolutionary organisms and the environment,
>> are less prone to loan themselves to the kind of one sided
>> benefits that some corporations seem to require, in order to
>> lend a hand in the development of technologies and products
>> more favorable for agriculture and the public good.
DW> People have been trying to develop genetic and management strategies for ECB
DW> control for a long time. Stalk strenth has been a principal breeding
DW> objective in corn for 100 years, and part of the reason is to reduce
DW> breakage caused by ECB. Besides this, (non-transgenic) efforts to breed
DW> corn for insect resistance have been disappointing. Cultural practices have
DW> been somewhat more successful, and ECB can be controlled by insecticide
DW> application (but it is often too expensive).
A little knowledge as the root of many evils.
The presence or absence of insect pests springs mainly from
environmental and nutritional factors, many of which are either man
made or controlled. Their presence is often fomented by improper
cultural practices (i.e monocropping, use of nonselective, wide
spectrum controls that depopulate populations of beneficial organisms
etc.). Resistance doesn't have to be built in, unless you're a seed
company, that is; and gravitated around the corporate bottom dollar
DW> "One-sided" you say? Ironically, the estimates of how much value the seed
DW> industry could capture from the Bt corn market turned out to be very
DW> over-optimistic. The industry managed to produce a huge amount of Bt corn
DW> seed in a short time, driving down the premium we receive for Bt corn.
DW> Farmers get a good deal on Bt corn. I guess this is an example of
DW> capitalism working ;)
Underestimating the effects on the market of the collective stimulus
of corporate greed..
DW> Of course, the farmers got squeezed too, since they
DW> are so good at producing grain. All this contributes to lots of cheap
DW> grain. Is that in the public's best interest? I don't know.
I don't either. I eat other things, myself. And it mainly depends on
the as yet unknown medium and long term effects on human health and
>>> It turns out that it is easier to directly destroy the
>>> mycotoxin using genetic approaches than to completely
>>> prevent invasion of the ears by Fusarium moniliforme.
>> Easier for who?
DW> Easier for the breeder. Varieties resistant to Fusarium moniliforme are
DW> hard to find, although resistance to Aspergillus flavus seems a little
DW> easier to obtain. Corn that breaks down mycotoxin is a good tool, and this
DW> has value, especially for the grower (and eaters) of food-grade corn. Just
DW> wait till you have to meet mycotoxin standards in your grain.
I've only grown grain for my animals, and a little sweet corn. Some
beans, also. Mainly it's fruit.
DW> You think you can control these things by cultural practices?
Probably, but I defer to the experience of others, who grow more
grain. Genetic Russian roulette doesn't satisfy my concept of
effective (and above all, responsible) control.
>>> The new corns exhibit much lower mycotoxin levels,
>>> and should reduce throat cancer.
>> How nice. What else do the "new corns" do? Is that a secret too?
>> Or is it just another no-brainer, the fact that NOBODY knows that
>> yet. Does the fact that these "new corns" are never-the-less
>> already on the market indicate a lack of responsibility on the
>> part of the public authorities who oversee environmental and health
DW> I don't think these new [transgenetic] varieties are on the market
There's still hope then. But they shouldn't have been released to
the environment yet, if ever.
>> The wrong criteria and priorities are being given decisive weight
>> and it's clear that Europeans have marked the path to follow on
>> this issue, while the U.S. govt. looks for pretexts for imposing
>> dubious products on the world market that whole, congruent people
>> don't want.
DW> If I subsisted on corn, I would be pretty glad to have low mycotoxin
DW> varieties. No one is imposing products on anyone. Transgenic crop seed
DW> grew in popularity because farmers wanted it. If farmers are scared off by
DW> the prospect of EC restrictions, the industry will serve up non-GMO seed.
The road to hell is paved with "good" intentions - or at least what
are professed to be.
Dale, low mycotoxin is one thing, while transgenic crop seed is
another. I can't disagree with your logic, because the industry WILL
cater to farmers and consumers desires, as well as try to create or
support same, according to it's own localized interests. SOMEONE
however, must set the guidelines and mark the path, and that someone
needs to rely on a much more profound and comprehensive understanding
than the principle you've just stated.
Douglas Hinds, CeDeCoR, A.C.
Cordoba, Veracruz Mexico
To Unsubscribe: Email email@example.com with the command
"unsubscribe sanet-mg". If you receive the digest format, use the command
To Subscribe to Digest: Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the command
All messages to sanet-mg are archived at: