interesting- plant gene swapping

mwedzi(chicago)July 15, 2003

This is really interesting. I, too, would have never guessed it would be possible in a plant species. Next thing they'll be telling us that animals do it! Wasn't sure if this was the right forum, but there seems to be no other more appropriate (let me know if there is). I just :

1) thought you all might find this interesting

2) wanted to brag about my school

enjoy

Here is a link that might be useful: Gene Swap in Plants Surprise Scientists

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geoforce(z7a SE PA)

It is interesting that the very same process that this is ascribed to (virus mediated gene insertion) is what is being used to create the 'engineered' varieties of plants which are so forcefully denounced by the 'environmentalists' in our midst. These 'Frankenfoods' are thus seen to be also naturally occuring in many, if not all, of the unaltered plant species. It is quite obvious that most of the anti-engineered-plants rhetoric is a neo-luddite response rather than a reasoned position.

George

    Bookmark   July 16, 2003 at 8:27AM
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mwedzi(chicago)

But George, isn't it so that this is a recent discovery? So people who made arguments based on the idea that engineered plants were "unnatural" were, at least in that respect, in keeping with current scientific knowledge. Now whether you think "unnaturalness" is a good argument is another matter. . .

    Bookmark   July 16, 2003 at 11:01AM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

"So people who made arguments based on the idea that engineered plants were "unnatural" were, at least in that respect, in keeping with current scientific knowledge"

No, you have that backwards. It was unnatural in part because the mistaken idea that humans had the hand in forcing it AND that this did not happen in nature. It seems now that this type of gene transfer is quite "natural" and has been happening for some time. We have only just "discovered" that it does happen. Kinda blows some of our assumptions doesn't it??

    Bookmark   July 18, 2003 at 10:32AM
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mwedzi(chicago)

"It was unnatural in part because the mistaken idea that humans had the hand in forcing it"

but it was the human hand that forced it. whether or not it happens naturally does not take away from the fact that, in those particular cases, it was the human hand that did the work, no? so the idea that the human hand was doing the work is not mistaken, but exactly on point, no?

not that i, in particular, find anything wrong with such actions or accept arguments in general based on "unnaturalness". just saying . . .

    Bookmark   July 18, 2003 at 3:03PM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

You forgot the other part "AND that this did not happen in nature". I probably should have said that we operated under the mistaken idea that becasue it did not happen in nature we as humans had the hand in forcing something totally unnatural.

I'm saying that "engineered" plants are now known to be quite natural. We just operated under a false set of assumptions and based our opposition to it under the same set of false assumptions. So those that oppose are not keeping with current scientific knowledge, quite the opposite.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2003 at 8:38AM
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mwedzi(chicago)

But what I said was "So people who made arguments based on the idea that engineered plants were "unnatural" WERE, at least in that respect, in keeping with current scientific knowledge".

Until recently, scientists DID believe that gene swapping was not possible in higher species. And so people who believed likewise *were* in keeping with current scientific knowledge. As the article that I posted makes clear, we know this is not true now. And so, once again, if you were willing to accept the argument that engineered food was bad based on unnaturalness (which, let me just go ahead and say, I am not), then the arguments that the opposition made would have made sense because 1) it was scientifically accepted that genes could not be exchanged between plants so and 2) it was, in fact, the human hand that did the gene insertion.

Now, if people continue to believe it's "unnatural" (in the sense that like things don't happen without human aid), they will not be up-to-date in their scientific knowledge.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2003 at 5:32PM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

Yes, mwedzi, I see (light bulb going off) your point. I thought you were referring to now, not past (as I was referring to now only)!! Thanks for the link, byw, very interesting article.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2003 at 7:17PM
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kevins_choice(qld australia)

people seem to listen to the media so wether something is right or wrong has nothing to do with it. after all hardly anyone has the knoledge to make an informed decision.

kevin

    Bookmark   July 24, 2003 at 5:20AM
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Sparaxis(Vic Aust)

Hmm - fellow Australian, a wether (castrated male sheep) might not have the knowledge to make an informed decision, but 'hardly anyone' is a bit of a put down, don't you think?

Personally I question what I read in popular media, and would want more evidence than a single article written by a Chicago Tribune journalist to make an informed decision, but it would be interesting to look into the sources he quotes.
Often scientific research comes to light at a convenient time - for instance as a means of convincing the masses of something they might be opposed to. In such cases you tend to see the "research" that most benefits political parties, or big commercial interests, presented in favour of that which opposes them.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2003 at 7:22PM
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