Surprise surprise, more or less all bush fruit are small, have large seeds/stones, and taste inoffensive but rarely delicious. I wonder what a bush plum or lilly-pilly would look & taste like after 4,000 years of systematic breeding?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carissa_spinarum (bonus: poisonous when unripe)
If anything, gene editing is much more predictable than randomly mashing together the genes of select specimens.
Plant genes are odd.
From and old article by Michael Polan:
“When I got home from St. Louis, I phoned Richard Lewontin, the Harvard geneticist, to ask him what he thought of the software metaphor. ''From an intellectual-property standpoint, it's exactly right,'' he said. ''But it's a bad one in terms of biology. It implies you feed a program into a machine and get predictable results. But the genome is very noisy. If my computer made as many mistakes as an organism does'' -- in interpreting its DNA, he meant -- ''I'd throw it out.''
I asked him for a better metaphor. ''An ecosystem,'' he offered. ''You can always intervene and change something in it, but there's no way of knowing what all the downstream effects will be or how it might affect the environment. We have such a miserably poor understanding of how the organism develops from its DNA that I would be surprised if we don't get one rude shock after another.''”
Thats a brilliant metaphor.
Food science and chemistry aren’t always used in ways that are good for society, intentionally or not.
There really seems to be a pressure for people who believe in science to say “GMO = good,” but it is a technology like any other (eg, nuclear, antibiotics, AI) that deserves scrutiny in how it is applied.
They have an ancient watermelon that’s been breed to taste good. I’m going to start growing Paw Paws this year or next.
GMO is a issue only where turning a short term profit overrides giving the mutation time for natural attrition to weed out any potential issues.
The thing is, both can lead to bad outcomes: susceptibility to disease and inability to breed from seed are common issues as a result of selective breeding.
Selective breeding may have unintended consequences but at least the process is based on nature, aka plant sex.
Agreed that both can lead to bad outcomes, but I don't think it's unreasonable to believe that most with some kind of a biology background wouldn't find GMO far more ominous.
..uh and using genes from the same species! As opposed to using any genes from any species at all. I'm not sure how people can present GM as if it's the same thing, just a bit faster. Or how you can talk as if lack of fertility is the main problem people have, or the only problem people could possibly have, with GMO.
GMO from a human health point of view is entirely different issue, and I agree that it is poorly understood as far as long term effects. They also need to do better to quarantine the GMO from the possibility of cross-breeding before long term studies are completed.
At the same time climate change is an issue which is where GMO could have value such as making some crops more resistant to drought or frost as our weather patterns become more variable and bioregions shift. While this may require venturing outside of a genus which is the limit of where you can go with breeding/grafting you're not going to be venturing too far. Personally I do disagree with GMO programs such as herbicide resistance as that's something else again.
Maybe GMO should be something left to Government approval and funding where short-term profit making doesn't play into how soon a new plant variety is released?
And for better transparency we treat each GMO not as a variety but as a new breed with a new name?
Some background on biotech in general.
I am not saying several million dead anything more than a theoretical possibility, but risks are not just about what’s bad for farmers.