[internetworkers] Genetically modified foods - (was fahrenheit911, at a theater near you!)

Jeremy Portzer jeremyp at pobox.com
Wed Jun 23 10:13:31 EDT 2004

On Wed, 2004-06-23 at 09:58, Shea Tisdale wrote:

> The actual truth is that probably 95% of the foods we eat are genetically
> modified.  They have been for hundreds of years through importation,
> selective breading, and hybridization.  These forms of genetic manipulation
> haven't been regarded as "bad" as has the more direct genetic manipulation
> now in the news.

Good point.  And modern, 'artificial' genetic modification is much more
exact than traditional selective breeding/hybridization.  Scientists can
now change just one gene at a time (e.g. the roundup resistance gene)
without having to get thousands of others in the process.  Yet somehow
people are much more worried about unseen "health risks" from this,
instead of the traditional methods where THOUSANDS of unknown genes were
changed.  This is the part that confuses me.

> I would like to see some of the data before I truly jump on that bandwagon,
> but generally I agree with you.  I guess my hope would be that we use as
> little chemical treatment as possible, whether it is in the form of
> fertilizer, herbicide, or pesticide.  And that we develop processes that
> eliminate the need for herbicides and therefore the need for genetically
> modifying plants to be resistant to them.

I don't know enough about the details of how corn/soybeans/etc. are
farmed to know whether this is a goal that can be met in the forseable
future.  If you let the weeds grow, they reduce crop yield, contaminate
the harvest, etc.    But my point is that the use of roundup drastically
reduces overall herbicide use, since it's a one-stop affair.  And it
doesn't have the downstream effects of previous herbicides.  It's
clearly not a panacea though, as I've stated elsewhere.


| Jeremy Portzer        jeremyp at pobox.com      trilug.org/~jeremy     |
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