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March 25, 2011

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Mark Delman

Hi Tin Lizard:

I don't have an opinion on GE because I haven't really looked at the issues carefully, but I think the argument against these types of foods is a little different than you suggest. I think that opponents of GE are concerned about the METHOD by which agricultural companies like Monsanto are creating new varieties and the potential impact. In the old days, one created a new variety by using pollen from one variety of corn and crossing it with another variety of corn in order to get positive attributes from both parents in subsequent generations. GE attempts to do the same, but the method of creating the new variety is very different. With GE, genes from one type one organism are directly inserted into the DNA of another using genetic engineering techniques. GE allows DNA from entirely different species to be mixed together. For example, taking genes from a bacteria and inserting it into a corn plant to make the corn resistant to a type of disease. Opponents of GE are concerned that we may inadvertently damage human health by creating these "Frankenfoods." The anti-GE camp strikes me as displaying both legitimate concerns and Luddite fears. I really don't know enough about the science to have an opinion about GE. It's something I have on my list of things to look into for my gardening blog.

JHawk23

Thanks for the clarification, Mark. I can see that there may be a different process at work; genetic engineering in effect is rushing the process of natural selection, with unknown consequences, though I suspect if mankind of 30,000+ years ago had had GE at their disposal, they would have used it. As you say, some of the concernspeople express today may be legitimate, others overwrought.

I look forward to your further elucidation of the subject on Planter Tomato, when you find time.

Shaiban

There are so many problems with glcteinaley engineered animals and vegetables. Where to begin?When this became a reality under George Bush's administration,(not George W.- his father) resided over by his Vice President, there was a clear decision not to allow anyone to know anything about the details. Patents were bandied about. Shrimp genes in tomatoes, human genes in other vegetables. So you want to eat humans? Remember, genes are actual biological realities. They give you the make up of who you are.. eye color/hair color. I will skip the canabalism.Secondly, how do people with religiously or ethically based diets protect their food sources? Is a tomato kosher if it has shrimp genes in it? Is it halal for the Islamic community? (You know the halal designation only exists for meat. Until now, I guess) How about the pork genes in vegetables? No one will tell you which is which. So, where is the outcry by the clerics? If you don't have to pay attention to the shrimp and pork genes (an human genes- are humans kosher and halal?), why not just chow down on any animal flesh? Where is the distinction? If part of a tomato or a goat is human, the religious community has to answer some tough questions.How about that separation of church and state? Isn't the government making choices for people's religious practices by withholding this information? Has not the government decided that these religious or ethical tenets are unimportant?Personally, I already was a vegan. Made me into a vegan who eats only organic food. I want to know what I am eating. I think it is my right as an American.P.S. The interesting part was that as soon as we went organic, both my husband and I lost 25 pounds each, without any other change in our diets. Makes you wonder about the multi-billion dollar diet industry and the FDA and USDA hmmmP.P.S. The first patent for a glcteinaley engineering organism was a bacteria. You see no normal cell will allow the invasion of a foreign gene unless you destroy it with this bacteria.The scientist will tell you that this is just the centuries old process of grafting fruits and vegetables together speeded up a bit. I think not.

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