I have to ask

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by dk_40207, Dec 22, 2006.

  1. dk_40207

    dk_40207 Well-Known Member

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    Sigh. I hoped I would be able to find out on my own, but I am confused. I was reading back posts and saw that it was stated that Territorial gets arounf the GM thing by wording...? I wasn't aware that there was a difference between GE and GM. Could someone enlighten me? :shrug:
    dk's girl
     
  2. IowaLez

    IowaLez Glowing in The Sun Supporter

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    I'm not the expert on seed companies, but Territorial does have the "safe seed pledge" part of which reads:

    "For the benefit of all farmers, gardeners and consumers who want an alternative, we pledge that we do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds or plants. The mechanical transfer of genetic material outside of natural reproductive methods and between genera, families or kingdoms, poses great biological risks as well as economic, political, and cultural threats."

    So they define GE/GM as the mechanical transfer of genetic material. And they do sell some organic seed, which would pretty much guarantee no GM, wouldn't it? I've always thought of Territorial as a qualtiy seed purveyor. I know not everything printed has to be true, but I'm not into the GM conspiracy thing, either.
     

  3. VALENT

    VALENT Well-Known Member

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    I am not sure but I would think "organic seed" would have more to do with how it was raised(no synthetic? pesticides or fertilizers etc) than what variety it is. So, in my opinion(for what it is worth), you could organically grow a genetically modified seed and have an organic bounty.
     
  4. IowaLez

    IowaLez Glowing in The Sun Supporter

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    To be certified organic seed, the seed company must prove and warrant the absence of any transgenic (i.e., the introduction of a gene or trait from one species into another unrelated species) germplasm in othe source material and breeding program, as well the absence of any GMO material in the seed production, cleaning, storage, and shipment chain.

    If GMO seed stuff really concerns you, organic seed is the way to go.
     
  5. VALENT

    VALENT Well-Known Member

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    Would it still be organic seed if it was an heirloom variety raised with synthetic practices?
     
  6. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    In the case of GM, it's really no big deal since everything that we grow is GMed from its original form. The carrots that we know are botanically identical to Queen Anne's Lace but have been quite genetically modified over the past 4 or 5 hundred years. The same is true of virtually every vegetable that we grow.

    GMO is a different story since that involves a gene from another genera, family, or kingdom as stated in the Territorial disclaimer. That is where people have trouble understanding it since all they think about then is a fish gene in a tomato. In the process, 99% of the population can no longer see "GM" without their minds reading "GMO".

    In the case of how Territorial supposedly gets around it? Their disclaimer uses the word "and" to separate the phrases "natural reproductive methods" and "between genera". "And" means "in addition to" in this case rather than "or". That allows such as sh2 sweet corn to to be sold since that involves a "modified" gene. When those varieties of corn were first marketed, it was done so with the mention of having a modified gene and accepted by all.

    With the birth of the Internet and resulting deluge of misinformation, just the word "modified" became enough to scare a lot of people. So, the seed industry decided to call it a "shrunken" gene. But nobody will tell you how it was shrunk or who did it. It didn't just fall out of the sky or show up in someone's backyard garden. Territorial even changed the description of their se to remove the word "modifies". The description of the se corn used to have: "The sugar enhanced or 'SE/se' gene modifies the type and amount of sugar in the corn,....."

    Personally, I'm not too worried since Chicken Little still is waiting for the sky to fall on her and getting fatter on all that GM corn!

    Martin
     
  7. IowaLez

    IowaLez Glowing in The Sun Supporter

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    No. Organic seed cannot be raised synthetically - that makes it not organic any more. Being an heirloom has nothing to do with it. OP (open pollinated) is the better description than heirloom.
     
  8. IowaLez

    IowaLez Glowing in The Sun Supporter

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    Thank you Martin!

    I had forgotten about the sh2 corn. I was wracking my brain trying to think what common veggie had been modified. So I guess the new wording in catalogues has gotten to me and I just accept it!
     
  9. VALENT

    VALENT Well-Known Member

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    I'm still confused.
     
  10. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    That's because "a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing!"

    Martin
     
  11. Marcia in MT

    Marcia in MT Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We just went to a lecture on GMO, and it was very interesting. According to the speaker, almost all the corn and soy in this country and the canola in Canada is contaminated with GMO genes. The producers have no control over where the pollen goes for wind-pollinated species, so crossing is impossible to contain. In other words, there's no way to know if your seed has some GMO gene(s) in it or not, no matter if it's commercially or organically produced.

    I don't think regular hybridization by crossing individuals of the same species is the same as genetically modifying an organism by irradiation (tetraploids) or bombarding genetic material from one species to another, entirely different one (GMO).

    The most telling argument against GMO for me, was hearing that given the choice, animals will choose regular food over GMO food almost every time. What do they know that we don't?!
     
  12. Steve L.

    Steve L. Well-Known Member

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    Martin, I really don't get what you're trying say here.

    This -
    means -
    1) The mechanical transfer of genetic material outside of natural reproductive methods poses risks and threats.
    and
    2) The mechanical transfer of genetic material between genera, families or kingdoms, poses risks and threats.

    All of the sugar accummulation genetics in sweet corn are the result of naturally occuring mutations, not gene transfer. The sh2 gene was identified in the early 1970's, before we were even starting to get a handle on gene transfer.

    Yeah, sure, Territorial is rightly concerned that their customers will associate the word 'modified' with GM/GMO. I don't think that they're wrong in having that concern.

    I contend that this info is readily available, if anyone cares to look.

    If my memory serves, 'shrunken' actually refers to the apperance of the dried seed itself (corn carrying the sh2 gene doesn't sequester much starch in the kernels, therefore the dried kernel is shriveled/shrunken), not the 'gene'. This lack of starch has the additional effect of poor seed germination.
     
  13. IowaLez

    IowaLez Glowing in The Sun Supporter

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    Steve,

    I have to agree with you on the corn stuff. I went and looked it up, too. And I found a university document calling it a mutation of a gene. Not a modification. So it's not GMO. That's a relief.
     
  14. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Steve, in the case of Territorial and other companies, one needs go back on to about 1998 when both se and sh2 sweet corn varieties were advertised as having a modifed gene. The quote that I cited above was from the 1999 catalog which has since been changed.

    In the Supersweet Varieties of the link which you provided, referencing the se and sh2 varieties it states: "They were developed after the discovery of the hereditary genes that control corn sweetness." One doesn't discover genes laying around on the ground. Sort of like the which came first thing, chicken or egg? Do a Google search for "shrunken gene" corn. You'll find everything except how it was isolated and then put into those varieties.

    Try this link on sweet corn genotypes. www.uvm.edu/vtvegandberry/factsheets/corngenotypes.html. 7th paragraph, one sentence. "In the mid-1900s, some very important corn genes were developed: 'SH2' shrunken gene and the 'SE' sugary enhanced gene." Again, read that line and ask which came first, chicken or egg?

    The one thing that we all agree on is that those genes did not come from outside the maize family but from within. Nobody ever claimed that it was the result of GMO manipulation although I have at times had to argue hard to convince someone that it wasn't!

    Martin
     
  15. dk_40207

    dk_40207 Well-Known Member

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    Whew! Didn't mean to start a debate...but what a great way to learn :)
    I think I got it now, just needed a little clarification.

    And, for the record...years ago, the "chicken little" gene was "blasted" :wizard: into our family's genetic make-up, thereby making us modified by the OSTSIF gene(oh s*** the sky is falling). This genetic quirk makes us wear hard hats wherever we go. So this GMO stuff scares the crap out of us.
    The sky is falling!!! :chicken: (where is a chicken with a hardhat smiley when you need it?)
    Hehe
     
  16. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    I knew I saw this question somewhere. "Synthetic practices" could be translated into any propagation method other than sowing seed or rooting cuttings. But many plant varieties are propagated by tissue culture in order to maintain the same genetic line. Thornless blackberries are one that comes to mind. If those plants are grown organically, were their fruit forever doomed to be non-organic forever? Were apples not easily grafted, tissue culture would be the only way to maintain individual varieties. For that matter, a word purist would describe grafting as being synthetic.

    Martin
     
  17. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    This was only the second time that this particular subject has been brought up here on HT. The other time would have been about 2002. That was no doubt due to many people still having their seed catalogs of a few years previous and becoming alarmed at the GMO scare. There, I had to defend se and sh2 sweet corn varieties as NOT being GMO but simply manipulation of corn genes. I believe that we closed out that thread with me agreeing that it really WAS Frankencorn! Looking back, only human parts were used to create Frankenstein, right?

    Martin
     
  18. Steve L.

    Steve L. Well-Known Member

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    Martin, here 'ya go. One Google search, first link looked at. ;)

    Oh, by the way, I got a couple of 'memories' backwards.
    This -
    is, of course, wrong. It was the 'se' gene that was discovered in the '70's (1978, If my new info is right!)

    Edited to add -
    Second link that I looked at -
    And you'll like this, Martin - the first article I linked to appears to have been written by W.F. Tracy (wftracy at facstaff.wisc.edu)!
     
  19. Steve L.

    Steve L. Well-Known Member

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    Yea, I know what you mean. After all, my cat just absolutely refuses to swallow his worm medicine. What does he know that I don't?
     
  20. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Steve, you indeed are correct in that you are correct if the sources are correct! The one states that the sh2 came from Michigan. Can't open the other site but your quote only says Illinois. The problem with those genes is that the history is too foggy. At least nobody has actually claimed that the manipulation was done in a laboratory somewhere since the physical capabilities of doing so were probably still in their rudimentary forms. Engineering, modifying, manipulating, indeed it was as it required a complicated 3-way cross and possibly still does unless someone has been able to isolate that gene further since that report was published. The point is that the seed catalogs referred to the sh2 varieties as having a modified gene and it's still modified, engineered, manipulated, or whatever definition you wish to use. But it is NOT remotely related to GMO!

    Personal history bit: I de-tasseled corn for Blaney's Seed Co. for 2 years. The present owner of Renk Seed Co. was a year behind me in school and we rode the same bus for 5 years. Not that that qualifies me to be an expert on seed corn but I know that one simply doesn't plant, pick, bag, and sell in that business.

    Also, I note that I was reading the Territorial pledge wrong but find it almost amusing to be placating just about everyone in the American food fight! Sampling some recent back copies of their catalogs, 1999 and 2001 had no such pledge. 2004 was simply: "We pledge that we do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds or plants." I do note that there are no blackberries in any of those catalogs, either! Can't get them on the tissue culture technicality there!

    Martin