[NAFEX] GM plants, corn , court cases

road's end farm organic101 at linkny.com
Sat Feb 14 18:20:24 EST 2004

On Friday, February 13, 2004, at 12:48 PM, Peter Knop wrote:

> 1.)  Can anyone give me the citation for a court case where Monsanto (or
> others) won on the "ownership" issue of drifted pollen?
I see several people have already sent links about this.

> 2)  Of course all corns we eat today are genetically modified if one 
> wants
> to be technical about it - hybridising modifies the genetics.  
> Inserting by
> mechanical or chemical means new genes is what I guess I would define GM
> plants to be - does someone else have a better definition I could use?
This is one of those cases where the term may have different technical 
meanings depending on who's using it. "Genetic modification" apparently 
has been used for many years as a technical term to apply to what is 
thought of by most people as traditional breeding. However there is a 
technical definition for the way in which it's used by most people 
arguing about it today; in fact, there's now a legal definition. I quote 
from the USDA organic standards, in which these methods are being 
defined so they can be forbidden. (To further complicate the issue, 
these standards define these specifically, and confusingly, as "excluded 
methods". I don't know who came up with this term, which is used by 
nobody I've ever heard of except USDA. It makes little sense, especially 
as other things besides GMO's are also excluded from organic growing, 
but only GMO's are in the definition.) Anyway, here's the legal 

"A variety of methods used to genetically modify organisms or influence 
their growth and development by means that are not possible under 
natural conditions . . . such methods include cell fusion, 
micro-encapsulation and macroencapsulation, and recombinant DNA 
technology (including gene deletion, gene doubling, introducing a 
foreign gene, and changing the positions of genes when achieved by 
recombinant DNA technology).

Such methods do not include the use of traditional breeding, 
conjugation, fermentation, hybridization, in vitro fertilization, or 
tissue culture."

-- Rivka

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