|Traditional Plant Breeding Is More Dangerous than GM|
Nobody thinks the corn, soybeans, fruits and vegetables we grow and eat every day are unsafe. This is reasonable even though they can create problems for people with allergies and if contaminated with pathogens they can create problems for all of us. But on the lists of things that kill us modern plant breeding is conspicuously absent, despite the fact that crop plants have a high percentage market penetration. 70% of processed foods on supermarket shelves in the USA contain GMO-crop sourced ingredients as does almost all of the feed used by the European animal products industry. This means that all European meat, eggs, cheese, milk, butter are ultimately derived from GMO-crops. Then there are the enzymes produced by GMO-bacteria that are used in almost all beer, bread, wine and cheese. Finally, of course, the insulin given to diabetics is produced in GMO bacteria.|
How do modern techniques of precision plant breeding compare with those used by farmers for the past ten thousand years?
In the past, farmers improved crops and livestock to serve human needs by selecting those with preferred traits and using them as parents for the seed/offspring for the next planting season or generation. Farmers would breed one variety with a preferred trait with another carrying a different, desired characteristic to combine both in one crop.
We now understand that these farmers were thus shuffling and recombining tens of thousands of genes at a time, with absolutely no idea of the principles involved. Modern, precision plant breeding with entirely natural recombinant DNA techniques limits the mixing to one or two genes known to govern the trait of interest. This allows new varieties to be developed much more rapidly and with an unprecedented level of precision and predictability and with dramatically increased safety compared to traditional processes long known to be very safe. Here is one comparison of these different approaches to improving crops and livestock and companion animals:
Table credit: http://kfolta.blogspot.com/2012/06/more-frankenfood-paradox.html - Kevin Folta
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