[NAFEX] GMO and Breeding

Deirdre Birmingham deirdreb at mindspring.com
Fri Dec 30 18:53:21 EST 2005

I appreciate Heron's comments.  And wish to add the following. 

The trans-genic technologies that are mis-nomered "genetically modified"
are not things that would happen naturally.  In transgenics, materials are
moved across species boundaries, such as the early example (and not
accepted by consumers) from Calgene of moving fish genes into the tomato to
help tolerate cold better. Genetic material in some classes is literally
shot into the cell of the recipient organism.  The changes to the DNA
structure are not fully known.  They can map some of it, but not all of it,
and at times less is known than the unknown impacts. 

Also these things are not well regulated.  There has been a revolving door
between the EPA and Monsanto, between the FDA and Monsanto. Our government
has not been reviewing third-party independent verification of the
environmental or human health impacts. The gov't takes reviews from
Monsanto and similar corporations, does not look at the actual data or
methodologies but at synopses and results.  And these technologies are
accepted before any long-term assessments have taken place.  
The insect and disease control features of some of them, weed control too,
have some of the same inherent weaknesses.  Insect pests, disease
organisms, and weeds evolve around them.  Those with resistances survive
and multiply.  Farmers are still on the technology treadmill but even more
beholden to the few agro-ceutical companies that remain.  
The fact that plant genetic resources are increasingly controlled by four
large for-profit corporations has risks for all of humanity.  The patenting
of life-forms is what started all this.  That was indeed a grave decision.  
The Center for Food Safety published a well documented study last year of
the hundreds of legal actions taken by Monsanto alone against farmers for
violating seed agreements.  Seed companies are no longer the friend of the
farmer.  They are driving some to bankruptcy.  
There are other farmers who are harmed in the market place because of the
genetic pollution their crops suffer when pollen drifts from trans-genic
crops drifts onto theirs. 
I am not against genetic engineering technologies in and of themselves.
They are simply tools.  My husband's company is a bio-tech company  But it
is the application of those technologies and their societal and
environmental impacts that drops out as these technologies are rushed to
market.  And with the huge $$$$ investments in them, and the drive in the
stock market for increasingly shorter term profitability, that drives the
rush to market and their methods to ensure that their products get there.   


Deirdre Birmingham, 
zone 4, southern WI

> [Original Message]
> From: Heron Breen <breen at fedcoseeds.com>
> To: North American Fruit Explorers <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Date: 12/30/2005 11:08:30 AM
> Subject: [NAFEX] GMO and Breeding
> While I appreciate others opinions, natural selection and pressure is by
no means
> comparable to plant breeding, modern or otherwise. There are major
> genetic "intents" between the two. A plant or animal is, truly, a
> organism. All of these cells are individually working together to create a
> enviroment that is safe and secure for division and nutrient management.
> than go on at length, here are a few concepts for those interested to
look into: 
> Natural processes work within what is known as horizontal resistance,
> modern agriculture works within vertical resistance. As one understands
> breeding and cellular recombination concepts, one understands why genetic
> engineering and most other efforts of single or multi-gene resistance
> problems within 10 years.
> Also, there is widespread misuse of the very principles which genetic
> farming should be applied under. Seed technology producers and farmers are
> suposed to be farming and leaving areas that are non-gmo corn and soybean
> parallel to their gmo operations. This allows the natural world an
ability to
> breed without breeding in gmo resistance. Originally, this also applied
to weed
> suppressing technology, but none is adhered to or regulated. Almost no one
> follows the "science"-recommended farming practices.
> I take great issue with the concept of intellectual or corporate
welcoming of
> criticism or oversight. For the most part conglomeration has led to
control of
> seed, fertilizer, crop treatments, medicine etc, all under one roof. Who
> overseeing the intergration of businesses or their ethical behavior? The
> multi-national nature of the money moving upwards, and government
> breeds the propaganda of the starving world needing ADM. The "truth" is
> conglomeration leads to the starving world.
> GMO food is already commonplace in the supermarket, so the idea that
> are overly concerned about the public health seems to leak considerably.
> I think, bluntly, there are those that believe technology, of any type,
is the
> answer to every problem. There are others that have worked with
"scientists" and
> industry and realize people are flawed, which is okay, but this includes
> ideas of a disease/pest/weed free utopia. Their own data and studies show
> natural selection/processing actually speeds up to outpace and rebalance
> changes, most often with unforeseen consequences. Look outside anywhere at
> today's world to see this. 
> The first 3 generations of gmo technology have been mismanaged, poorly
> and pushed with profit in mind. Money has been the only "green" in the
> revolution, while farmers literally die out. 
> Show me statistics that farming has improved economically or
enviromentally for
> small, medium, and large scale farmers since the advent of gmo agro-tech,
> I'll believe the nicey-nice "it'll be alright once we get it right"
> Until then , we are blowing billions of investment dollars promoting a
> do nothing,  tech industry. Please read LORDS of the HARVEST, FAST FOOD
> and a few other good books. And take a look at the economic and soul
erosion of
> farming communities. I am glad at least all the scientists are happy and
> This is not the simple misunderstood science that many wish to believe.
But, by
> looking at our modern highways, I know the road to hell is already paved.
> luck  with all that.
> sincerely,
> Heron Breen
> zone 4, Maine    
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