Hmm, I think the public needs more education on GMOs and transgenic organism (both plants and animals) in general:

Hmm, I think the public needs more education on GMOs and transgenic organism (both plants and animals) in general:

“Asked if tomatoes containing a gene from a fish would “taste fishy” in a question on a 2004 poll conducted by the Food Policy Institute at Rutgers University that referred to one company’s efforts to forge a frost-resistant tomato with a gene from the winter flounder, fewer than half correctly answered “no.” 

Putting a fish gene into a tomato plant will not make it “taste fishy” any more than putting human genes into yeast (which I do all the time) turns the yeast cells into human cells.

These types of transgenic (i.e. putting genes from one organism into another) genetic changes can be quite subtle (minor) mainly because of evolutionary conservation of many genes from yeast to tomatoes to fish to humans.

Moreover, a tomato is a tomato because of the complex interactions among all 35,000 or so tomato genes, the millions of regulatory elements in the tomato genome, and of course the interactions between the genes and the environment. A single fish gene implanted in the tomato genome can make only a very small change to the totality of the tomato phenotype (traits). 

It is a somewhat complex concept to explain to the General Public (and I don’t think I am very good at it), but it is important because transgenics are and can be very beneficial to humankind.

#GMOs   #transgenics

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/28/science/a-race-to-save-the-orange-by-altering-its-dna.html?smid=tw-share//cdn.embedly.com/widgets/platform.js

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3 Comments


  1. ““People are either going to drink transgenic orange juice or they’re going to drink apple juice,” one University of Florida scientist told Mr. Kress.


    And if the presence of a new gene in citrus trees prevented juice from becoming scarcer and more expensive, Mr. Kress believed, the American public would embrace it. “The consumer will support us if it’s the only way,” Mr. Kress assured his boss.”


    It sounds like they have no clue! I don’t think OJ consumption has ANYTHING to do with GMO or even price. Orange juice consumption has declined yearly for the past decade. If the OJ people are blaming this on price- I think they are wrong. It just so happens that the availability of OTHER, more palatable juice varieties has increased over the last decade. Would that instead of spending money on ‘fixing’ a problem which monocultural practices contributed to in the first place, these guys instead invested in growing a wider variety of orchards…

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  2. So instead of finding a viral phage for the attacking bacteria they’re modifying the genes of the orange tree itself? Given the replication and mutation rates of bacteria I don’t think we’re ever going to catch up. 


    Why not go back to wild citrus varieties and breed oranges that reproduce from seed so we don’t have to genetically modify our oranges every few years when a new bacteria shows up? 


    The real problem is monoculture crops of clones. Once any bacteria can infect one plant it can infect the whole orchard. 

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