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  #1  
Old 03/02/04, 02:47 PM
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Genetically altered seeds?

How do you know if the seeds you are buying have gone through this process? Who puts out the best quality seeds?

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  #2  
Old 03/02/04, 03:17 PM
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered
How do you know if the seeds you are buying have gone through this process? Who puts out the best quality seeds?
Basically,

It is very difficult to know exactly which varieties are genetically modified without doing extensive research by variety via germplasms, plant breeders, etc.

Almost all the seeds you buy in those little packets at any store, home and garden center, nursery, greenhouse are going to be hybrids. If you save the seeds from hybrids, they will not grow true to the first plant. This insures that you, as a consumer, are stuck buying more seeds each year.

But hybrid doesn't necessarily mean genetically altered. This is a better question to be proposed at the Slow Food Forum or The Vegetable Garden Forum (of course, I'm assuming you're talking about vegetables...)

If you want non-hybrid, genetically-unaltered seeds, stick to "heirloom" seeds. These are seeds whose origin can be traced back at least 50 years, if not hundreds of years.

Good sources are:

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
Seed Savers Exchange

For more information on heirlooms, scroll down to "heirlooms" here

Hope that helps.
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Last edited by violets; 03/02/04 at 03:20 PM.
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  #3  
Old 03/03/04, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Unregistered
How do you know if the seeds you are buying have gone through this process? Who puts out the best quality seeds?
http://www.seedsofchange.com

There are *NO* genetically altered seeds sold there.
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Old 03/03/04, 02:32 PM
 
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From what I have read over the past few years it seems to me that GM seeds are a patented, registered product owned by the developing company and you can only buy them from the developing company after you sign a contract. Right now I am pretty sure the only GM seeds available via Monsanto are corn, cotten, rape, and some tomatoes and some wheat. These seeds are sold to LARGE producers and not on the open market to home garden seed companies.

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Old 03/03/04, 04:03 PM
 
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goatlady,

Looks like we'll have to do further research on that... otherwise seed companies would not be specifying that they do not sell genetically modified seeds to us.

Companies who've signed the Safe Seed Pledge

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Old 03/03/04, 08:20 PM
 
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violets, It's good marketing to advertise as such. Just like lots of milk producers stipulate they do not produce/use/buy milk from growth hormone treated cows. It also lets Monsanto and the other companies know that these companies are against GM seeds. It does not mean the seeds are available to the home gardener AT THIS TIME. These companies are, hopefully, stating their long-term and future positions. If the home gardener sticks with the smaller seed companies who raise and sell their own seed, uses open-pollinated seed, and learns to successfully save their own seed there would be no need for anxiety about GM seed for the home gardener.

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Old 03/03/04, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by goatlady
These seeds are sold to LARGE producers and not on the open market to home garden seed companies.
Oh, I would not count on that.

Worse, you might be getting genetically modified seed unknowingly.

Some might remember the BT corn that cross pollinated other fields of corn not all that long ago.

Also, some genetically modified seeds have been found growing in the wild. Birds and other wildlife can transport seed an amazing distance.
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  #8  
Old 03/05/04, 11:45 AM
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered
How do you know if the seeds you are buying have gone through this process? Who puts out the best quality seeds?

First off, are we talking hybrids (selective breeding) - or mechanically altered - what I call test-tube seeds??

Hybridizing has gone on forever, and is not harmful - you don't get frankencorn or anything. F1 Hybrids are first generation, and the seed should still be 'savable'. Anything from second generation on don't bother trying to save seed. It will NOT come out as the parent, and sometimes the seed is sterile.

Pinetree, Seedsavers and like organizations have lots of OP, non-mechanically altered seed available, some of which will even be organically produced.

I know that with Pinetree, all seed is open pollinated unless otherwise noted. Their packs are small, but VERY inexpensive, and more than enough to feed a good-sized family for the price. They are also VERY high quality so far as germination, and the info they provide is excellent. I've found the same to be true with seedsavers, but they are more expensive, and don't really seem to up the seed count.

Both are on the net...

Pinetree Garden Seeds

Seed Savers Exchange

Sue
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  #9  
Old 03/05/04, 10:22 PM
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Everyone look at the title of the thread that you are responding to. "Genetically Altered Seeds?". That has nothing to do with GM seeds. All se and sh2 hybrid sweet corn varieties have an altered gene. That includes all Supersweet and Sugary Enhanced hybrids. Only the su normal hybrids do not contain an altered gene. Even Pinetree sells genetically altered se and sh sweet corn! Disclaimers by all seed companies ONLY apply to genetically modified seed, NOT genetically altered seed.

Martin

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  #10  
Old 03/06/04, 06:15 AM
 
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Martin, could you define genetically altered and GM for us? It was my understanding that both the se and sh sweetcorn genes were naturally occuring mutations that have been propagated through standard plant breeding methods.

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Old 03/06/04, 10:00 AM
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We went around and around on this a year ago but it's simple. You can ALTER something through breeding. You can also MODIFY it through breeding. There is nothing wrong with that and those terms have always been accepted in the seed industry and the consuming public. What is not accepted is GMO, genetically modified organisms. That is a gene, from a different species, introduced into the DNA of a plant. In the short time that they have been around, everyone now only hears or reads the words GENETICALLY MODIFED and instantly equate it with GMO. They are apples and oranges, two entirely different subjects. For years after the se and sh2 sweetcorns came on the market, seed companies often explained that those varieties had a genetically altered or modified gene. If you have access to older seed catalogs, you will find many companies explaining that se sweetcorn has a modifed gene. (Jung's, and others, still carried that description in 2000 catalogs.) With the introduction of GMO varieties and the resultant public backlash, the term was changed to "shrunken gene" to avoid the use of "altered" or "modified". And it's been a sticky mess ever since! The question comes up time and time again. How can something that was genetically altered or modified be totally scorned under one name and totally accepted by another name?

Sweet corn and GMO FAQs at these links.

http://oregonstate.edu/Dept/NWREC/corn-pr.html

http://ohioline.osu.edu/gmo/faq.html


Martin

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  #12  
Old 03/06/04, 10:40 AM
 
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Thank you, Martin. I was unaware of the discussions last year. It's nice of you to ensure that people don't jump to the wrong conclusion when they see that 'evil' word modified in the seed descriptions.

Judging by your post, and the links you provided, I'd guess that you and I tend to agree on the subject of GMOs.

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