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Not an online discussion about the dangers of genetically modified foods goes by without someone claiming, “What’s the big deal? They’re no different than any other hybrid. Hybrids và cross-breeding are genetic manipulations, just lượt thích GMOs. The only difference is that they’re done in the laboratory.”

Okay, maybe that last bit is true. And there are similarities. It’s true that both hybrids and GMOs are genetic manipulations. Hybrids can occur naturally or they might be facilitated by humans. GMOs are always created in laboratories. GMOs & many F1 hybrids may both be realized in controlled conditions, but one is simply doing nature’s work: pollinating. GMOs involve sầu ren splicing. Both are patented by the business/corporate owners (full disclosure: not all F1 hybrids are patented). What does the GMO patent mean? That you better be careful.

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But there are differences. The negative effects of GMOs on diversity & organic crops are markedly more serious than corporate- controlled hybrids. You can grow the “Heritage Hybrid Tomato” or the “Brandy Boy Hybrid” organically (marketing alert: notice how these relatively recent hybrids carry names that suggest heirlooms). A genetically-modified plant can’t clayên ổn khổng lồ be organic. Saving seed from F1 hybrids, say tomatoes, doesn’t mean you’ll get the same hybrid when planting the next year. They don’t reproduce “true.” Saving seed from GMO plants and putting them in the ground the following year may yield the same plant, but will unleash a plague of lawsuits, exorbitant fines, và worse.


Garden SeedsAll heirloom seeds offered by Planet Natural are non-treated & non-GMO.

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Planet Natural offers heirloom garden seeds that are non-treated, non-GMO và NOT purchased from Monsanto-owned Seminis. Need advice? Visit our vegetable guides for tips and information on growing specific types.

The big — and deciding — difference is in the way và number their genes are manipulated. Let’s turn again to Joseph Tychonievich’s wonderful book Plant Breeding for the Home Gardener. Here’s how he describes the important distinction: “Traditional breeding introduces genetic diversity by bringing together all genes of two individuals, most of which have sầu nothing to lớn vày with specific breeding aims. Genetic engineering instead inserts only one gen, one specific section of new DNA, inkhổng lồ a single individual’s genome…” That one gen can come from anywhere, be it a fungus or a bacteria or even a fish.

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When you practice cross-breeding in your garden, when a botanist controls pollination in his laboratory, the entire genome — all the genetic information — is combined. That’s why you won’t have any luông xã trying to lớn cross breed corn with tomatoes (cormatoes!) or your dog with your mèo. But you could take one ren from a disease-resistant corn & force it inkhổng lồ a tomato’s DNA. Or you could take one ren from bacteria that’s harmful khổng lồ some insect predator and see what results. In doing so, you change more than that single gen. You could decrease the plant’s nutritional value or, in fairness, maybe increase it. You might make something that’s toxic to lớn humans as well as insects. You might make something that’s totally inedible. Who knows what you might over up with? The variables are endless. Some might be good, others might be bad, all in the same genetic modification.

Tychonievich tries not khổng lồ take sides in the GMO argument. But it’s clear that he thinks genetic modification is a “powerful” technology. He grants that it could yield results which aren’t necessarily harmful. But he also suggests that it has the power to seriously disrupt ecosystems and bởi harm to humans. Never mind that it gives few corporations the power khổng lồ control most of the world’s important food supplies. And that it could bởi major damage to the diversity of the world’s food crops. The irony here is that lawmakers & business men don’t seem to lớn care about even the possibility of these consequences. Testing? Why bother? Labeling? Forget it.

Inserting a single gene from a completely different source, say a bacteria, could have sầu catastrophic results if the result turns out bad and escapes from the laboratory (some genetic engineering involves removing a single ren from the chain). But we’ve already had GMOs created that produce their own poisons and/or are resistant to herbicide, allowing more poison to lớn be sprayed on it. Those GMOs have not only been knowingly released from the laboratory, they’re showing up on our dinner plates.

On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with small farmers và trang chính gardeners experimenting by cross-breeding plants to encourage desirable traits, whether it’s a better tasting tomato lớn or a more fragrant carnation. It’s a natural process. Tychonievich explains, in detail, how it can be done. The process can take years or maybe just one growing season. And the results, as mother nature always is, can be unpredictable. But they won’t be evil. In fact, this kind of home breeding can be amazingly productive. More about that later. But for now… don’t tell us that GMOs aren’t any different than man-made hybrids. They most certainly are.