Monday, October 25, 1999, 9:43:39 AM, you wrote:
AMcG> Greetings Douglas,
AMcG> You wrote:
>> Does anyone else believe as I do, that GMO's are simply a more
>> obvious (and probably more dangerous, due to their potential for
>> extended proliferation), manifestation of the same mentality that
>> brought us grafted trees ...
AMcG> Of course, GMOs are the same mentality. This mentality has been
AMcG> operating since the beginning of agriculture. (Keep in mind that
AMcG> any type of cultivation is unnatural.)
I can't agree. I would say that agriculture (or cultivation) is by
nature the recreation of a given set of natural circumstances that are
fortuitous to a desired outcome. What human intervention does is
extend the envelope, recreating these "desirable" (or appropriate)
conditions in places where they would most likely not happen, in and
of themselves. But that doesn't make them unnatural. We just help
out, facilitate things.
Also, here we are talking about whole processes, as well as moving whole
natural elements around a bit. The process of splicing tissues
within distinct organisms (grafting) is THE direct antecedent to
splicing genes from distinct organisms, using unnatural and invasive
methods for doing so, in both cases. The methods are OUR (human)
methods, not helping the plant to use it's own methods (genetics).
These particular human methods are divorced from the nature of the
AMcG> We started out just selecting individual plants for their
AMcG> properties, but that wasn't good enough. Then we had to start
AMcG> cross pollinating for characteristics. (grafting is just a
AMcG> mutation of this.)
There are natural (evolutionary) mutations - although perhaps they're
not true mutations. The "sport" is a good example - a (slightly) new
variety that inexplicably appears on a particular branch of a fruit
tree - and there are freak (abrupt, non-continuous) ones, often caused
by invasive conditions that are incongruous to the homeostasis of the
AMcG> This led us to hybrids
Hybrids are simply the results of natural breeding methods (cross
pollination) that happen to NOT reproduce true to seed, due the
instability of the particular genetic cross.
Further cross breeding (continued seed selection) can sometimes revert
this reversion to type. In other words, if the cross proves stable and
reproduces true to type, you've got a new OP variety on your hands,
which is harder to make proprietary. It has also been found that the
tension involved in a genetic cross that is inherently unstable can
sometimes introduce a kind of temporary (since it doesn't reproduce)
vigor in the progeny.
AMcG> and then to GMOs. All of this is a manipulation of nature,
Totally different processes, totally different types of manipulation.
AMcG> so there are no sacred cows, such as heirloom varieties or
AMcG> standard fruit trees.
Untrue. Heirloom or standard varieties are so unlike GMO's they're
polar opposites. I'm surprised to find you saying this. (How long
were you breast fed, BTW)?
AMcG> The goal initially, with selection, cross pollination and grafting
AMcG> was to bend the plants to our needs- production, flavor and
AMcG> nutrition. The goal of hybrids was to do all this AND own a
AMcG> variety which didn't breed true- to make growers dependent on seed
AMcG> companies. The same is true of GMOs.
The dependency angle is same. But true genetic (rather than
transgenetic) breeding techniques are not necessarily "bending" the
plants but can be simply working with them, within the limitations of
the plant's own nature, relative to the depth of the relationship
between what they produce and our own needs - which is why it's a good
relationship, and why it's appropriate (and mutually beneficial) to be
working together, plants and people.
AMcG> Sidebar: Does anyone else remember way back when? Hybrids were
AMcG> touted as the wonderkids that would end world hunger. This is the
AMcG> "rationale" behind GMOs. But we all know that it's an attempt to
AMcG> sell more chemicals and "own" the varieties.
But we know better, don't we.
AMcG> Back to goals- It is the goal of agriculture (not agribusiness) to
AMcG> produce the most food with the highest nutritional value with the
AMcG> least inputs and to be able to do this indefinitely
I would say best instead of most food, and sufficient inputs instead
AMcG> And I think you are right about insisting that we look at goals.
AMcG> Most farming today has as its goal the economics. And pressure
AMcG> continues to build from development, land values upping taxes and
AMcG> the rest. Our goal should be to keep ourselves well fed (all of
AMcG> us) and nurture the soil and the farmers to this end. The rest is
OK, so we do agree.
>> The same invasive, out of context, self serving, myopic ball of
>> pretexts; that justify actions which damage the integrity of other
>> (and to my mind superior) organisms, producing (of course) an inferior
>> human food supply system, as a disappointing, melodramatic result.
AMcG> We do have an inferior food supply- inferior in feeding all and
AMcG> inferior in nutrition. Our myopia is the short sightedness of our
AMcG> institutions which are interested in profits today and how we can
AMcG> manipulate our resources to subjugate and plunder others.
AMcG> (Remember the concept of Food As a Weapon?").
Only someone insane would conceive that (unless the weapon was
designed to make people healthier and happier).
AMcG> What do the rest of you think? Are our goals in line and how we
AMcG> try to attain them out of line, or is it the other way around? Or
AMcG> are both wrong?
Douglas Hinds, CeDeCoR, A.C.
Centro para el Desarrollo Comunitario y Rural, Asociacion Civil
(Center for Rural and Community Development, a non-profit organization)
Cordoba, Veracruz; Cd. Guzman, Jalisco & Reynosa, Tamaulipas Mexico
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