Ian andrews on Fri, 18 May 2001 16:17:14 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> DNA bombs against DNA

>So my next question specific to this topic, is to ask; if all GM is not
>bad, why the opposition over transgenic crops? Biodiversity is already
>threatened by widespread agriculture regardless of whether the crops are
>genetically modified or not. Certain grasses are the most successful plants
>on the planet -- they selected humans such that we spread them practically
>everywhere we go. And of course all agricultural crops and animals are 'GM'
>by virtue of selective breeding anyway.

Scot, there is one major difference between GM crops and non GM crops and that
is that the (Monsanto) seeds are engineered to be barren in the next
generation, requiring the farmer to purchase more seeds for the next crop.  The
concern amongst both protesters and farmers is that a GM farm could
"genetically pollute" neighboring farms through cross fertilization when pollen
is carried by wind, thus rendereing those crops infertile. I don't know enough
about plant genetics to be able to say whether this is true or not, but I think
it would be safe to say that reseach into the environmental consequences of of
this aspect of GM agriculture is far from complete. Some of the effects on the
environment might only show up after many years. One only has to look at the
cane toad problem to see the results of hasty and unresearched biotech
solutions. In Australia a number of rural local councils are wanting to ban GM
farming but the Howard government, in its unrelenting zeal for the rights of
big business, is planning to override local bylaws in this issue.



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