Saturday, September 6, 2014

gmo and artificial selection

all domesticated plants are genetically engineered by humans...which is not to say that their genes were spliced in a lab...nothing that clinical...but the plants were modified by humans through artificial bred crops from plants that had superior characteristics ...either they tasted better or the produced more or matured more quickly...whatever...the plants with those desired characteristics were encouraged to reproduce...those that did not weren't...this is how teosinte evolved from a plant that produced husked seed ears that opened and shattered, scattering the seed into maize which has such a thick husk protecting the kernels that the ears cannot open on their own, this placing the continued survival of corn in human hands completely ( that our food system is profoundly dependent on corn makes it true symbiosis in my book )...hugh iltus would call this "catastrophic sexual mutation "" i call it genetic engineering, albeit in a filed , not a lab...i have remarked on the peculiar spacing ( probably more than once ) of the corn in the field behind the big box stores ( top photo )...i thought the seeder was skipping at first but now i am not certain...some of these plants are only three inches apart ( second photo ) the community garden we allowed at least twelve inches and perhaps more ( the seeding direction set one foot as a minimum )...these are far closer than that and yet both those plants produced two ears ( third photo )even though they should have starved on another...this is genetic engineering at it best ( worst? )...both produced one large and one small ear...the large ears are pretty standard corn ear sized ( bottom photo ) and that second ear will certainly aid the hot pocket population and put hfcs in all the pepsi you care to, while human domesticators were always monkeying around with engineering plant genes they did it outside and over a fair period of time...sometime accidentally finding "improvements" and sometime sweating the procedure...either way you slice it the corn behind the big box store is a lab spliced mutant that travels far outside the realm of natural genetic variation that supplied the original farmers with the tools to feed more and more people...i am nostalgic.

No comments:

Post a Comment