[Homeroast] GMO Coffee

Ryan M. Ward silvercro_magnon at hotmail.com
Mon Jul 19 11:59:19 CDT 2010

Technically speaking, "genetic modification" has been done for years in the form of selective breeding or artificial selection. The term GMO is a slight misnomer in this sense. Artificial selection is different in the sense that one is esentially speeding up the process of evolution. Changes are more or less gradual. This process is why we have so many different breeds of cats, dogs and fish.

Genetic engineering, however, involves actually cutting out a portion of a gene from an organism and physically cutting a portion of the DNA of another species to glue the gene in. This is usually done (last time I checked) by inserting the gene into a retrovirus and infecting the new organism with this virus. The virus then implants the gene into the organism where the gene embedds itself into the host DNA.

The change is very abrupt, I argue too abrupt for comfort. It is MUCH different than making a hybrid. A hybrid is when you mate two different types of compatible organisms together- such as mating a donkey and a horse to get a hybrid- a mule. 

Genetic enginering has been used to insert cow genes into tomatos to produce tomatos with a brighter red color. - know fish genes have been injected into another vegetable for something but cannot remember the details. Human DNA has been spliced into bacteria to produce insulin producing bacteria, etc...

Now, regarding the concern regarding genetic contamination. Genetic contamination does not occur at gene splicing time- this is true. It occurs during mating season. Pollen can travel a long way. If a farmer grows non-GMO corn, and his neighbor grows GMO corn, the GMO genes cannot infect the adult corn plants and alter them in any way. But, if the GMO plants spread pollen to the first guys corn plants, the seeds will contain the altered DNA. Those seeds now carry GM DNA. Any crops produced from those seeds will be genetically modified- and more importantly, if those crops pollenate other crops- they will become genetically modified.

This has already happened, and has been documented. I mentioned before some organic crops in Hawaii (I think it was Hawaii) that lost their organic certification, not because of anything the farmer did, but because genetic testing of his crops revealed genetic contamination from a neighbors GMO crop.

When I am at my computer I will type up info about some other issues that have popped up with Genetic Modification.

> Date: Mon, 19 Jul 2010 07:38:47 -0700
> From: mike at mjv.com
> To: homeroast at lists.sweetmariascoffee.com
> Subject: Re: [Homeroast] GMO Coffee
> In the discussion of GMO, it always means artificially and directly
> modifying the genetics of the organism in question, bypassing natural
> mechanisms in favor for artificial mechanisms. Of course everything we do
> to plants affects their genes, be it selective breeding, crossing and
> hybridizing, however when GMO is being discussed, it's about the product
> of direct genetic manipulation in the lab. It's the same difference as the
> term "Organic." Technically, petroleum is organic. However the
> term Organic used in discussion isn't referring to technicalities, but to
> methodology - a subset of agriculture that is managed in an accepted
> earth-friendly and sustainable manner without the use of petrochems. With
> GMO, the same is inferred. Technically, we're tampering with the genetics
> regardless and have been for ages, but this isn't technically that's being
> discussed, but methodology. Essentially, GMO has already been defined.
> Be well,
> Mike
> -- 
> Zone 8, Texas
> http://www.taroandti.com/ Exotic Plant Info and More...
> http://www.organichomesteading.com/ Organic Homesteading
> http://www.naturalbeefarm.com/ Mike's Bee Farm
> On Mon, July
> 19, 2010 5:44 am, John A C Despres wrote:
> > Let's be careful to
> define GMO - GMO does not always mean chemically
> > modified.
> Splicing two plant together is Genetically Modifying either of
> >
> the two plants...
> > 
> > Exercise caution, look carefully
> and stay healthy.
> > 
> > 
> > John
> >
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> -- Zone 8, Texas
> http://www.taroandti.com/ Exotic Plant Info and More...
> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/organichomesteading/
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