Re: CULT - Genetic Engineering
--- In email@example.com, Bill Shear <wshear@e...> wrote:
> The worries expressed about the genetic engineering of corn are
> effect irises in the ways Walter (with tongue in cheek so far he
> it off) worried about.
> The engineered corn has had a gene inserted from the bacterium
> thuringensis ("Bt"), which we have long used as a pesticide. Bt
> protien toxin that attacks the guts of a range of insect pests.
> strains of the bacterium can be used to kill cabbage worms, corn
> corn earworms, and even Japanese beetles (but this is not the same
> spore disease).
> The nutritional value of the corn is unchanged and so far as we
> toxin is not directly harmful to either animals or humans.
> However, there are two possible concerns. The Bt toxin is
> similar to the protien which is responsible for some serious food
> (such as those to peanuts, which can be rapidly fatal in sensitive
> individuals), though there are no known cases of reactions by
humans to Bt
> toxin. It is likely that the toxin is destroyed by cooking or at
> altered to the point that it would not provoke a reaction. The
> not pass through animals that are fed the engineered corn, but is
> down in their digestive systems. Nevertheless, thorough testing
> needed before the corn could be ajudged safe for human consumption.
> The second concern is that by exposing large pest populations to
> toxin, we could hasten the development of resistance to it, and
thus lose a
> valuable adjunct in the battle against insect pests.
> Advantages, of course, are many. The greatest from an environmental
> standpoint is that farmers can use much less of the more dangerous
> pesticides and still produce lots of good clean corn.
> Some people are concerned about lateral gene transfer, the movement
> genes from one species to another, possibly carried by viruses that
> infect multiple hosts. This might not be such a problem with Bt in
> but engineered cotton with herbicide resistance could allow the
> herbicide-resistance gene to enter populations of weeds. We don't
> any viruses that infect both humans (or any vertebrate) and plants.
> The Law of Unintended Consequences is still not much heeded by
> researchers, despite some disasterous failures. On the other side
> irresponsible panic-mongers who decry any attempt to improve food
> "unnatural" methods, whatever that means. The two groups tend to
> off somewhat and eventually we get a usable solution.....
> Bill Shear
> Department of Biology
> Hampden-Sydney College
> Hampden-Sydney VA 23943
> FAX (804)223-6374
> Moderating e-lists:
> Coleus at http://www.egroups.com/community/coleus
> Opiliones at http://www.egroups.com/community/opiliones
> Myriapod at http://www.egroups.com/community/myriapod
Thanks for your well-reasoned info on genetic engineering. And the
message on the limitations to our understanding.
Your iris book has been well-recommended to me also, and I'll be
ordering it from AIS as soon as I have two nickles to rub together.
What I may not understand in it, I will still need to know.
Interesting articles in the Sept. TALL TALK, also recommended and new
sub. By next spring, I hope to know a little, at least, of what I
should to launch my hybridizing project.
Patricia Brooks, new kid on the block
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