The potato has been genetically modified ever since scientists realized they could fight back blight that caused the Irish potato famine
ALL citrus fruits are GMO hybrids of the pomelo, mandarin, and citron- the only 3 original citrus.
Most people have no idea what they’re talking about when they say they’re against GMO’s. No idea.
We need to get around to realizing that genetic modification isnt contamination, or carcinogenic chemicals, or sludge, or evil godless mutations. They aren’t horrifying and they’re grown natural just like everything else.
I appreciate the sentiment, because I am also critical of most anti-GMO activism.
But, I can’t help but note the irony in saying, “all citrus fruits are GMO hybrids,” while accusing other people of not knowing what they are talking about, because hybrids are not GMOs. Also, “the potato” isn’t genetically-modified: a handful of patented cultivars of potato are. There are thousands more non-GM cultivars and landraces at the International Potato Center in Peru, for example, some of which are resistant to late blight.
‘Genetically-modified organism’ has a specific meaning (a novel organism modified by genetic engineering), and it does not refer to plants bred through artificial selection. I have a whole archive on plant breeding that goes over some of these conventional techniques.
Many people (and I include myself in this category) are critical of certain genetic engineering projects as they relate to agriculture because we are concerned with:
- the ecological impacts of things like genetic bottlenecks and genetic drift;
- insecticidal resistance and improper use of pest refuges;
- an increased dependence on monocultures of a narrow range of cereal crops;
- the global depletion of agricultural diversity, and loss of sustainable indigenous food sources;
- the increased cost of GM seed, and intellectual property/licensing costs for said seed driving the consolidation of smallholder farms into corporate hands;
- software-like ‘user agreements’ with seed preventing transparent, peer-reviewed science from happening in evaluating these crops;
- the lack of accessibility of genetic engineering techniques and equipment;
- the ownership of most of the world’s seed supply between 3-10 multinationals
- and, the moral implications of patenting biological organisms.
I know there are some weird and terrible anti-vaccer types drawn to the anti-GMO brigade, but fighting misinformation with more misinformation isn’t helpful. There are a huge number of political, ecological, and legal concerns to be sussed out in this relatively-new field of science, and it’s not helping the debate to add to it without understanding some of the basic concepts being debated.
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