11:45 a.m. - 2002-06-19
The money behind this research is coming from the deep pockets that want to get deeper; there in lies the problem. Companies that want to ďimproveĒ crops and such are often looking to improve them by letting them be grown easier and take better to chemical fertilizers. This is not the best reason to do this sort of thing. It isnít really new, we have been breeding plants for the same reasons with selective fertilization and complicated crosses for ages, but the traits we are looking for are not necessarily the ones that will ensure the survival of our food sources. Appearance, harvestablity, yield, resistance to bruising and long shelf life all make for a salable produce, but what of nutrition and resilience to drought and such? All of the things that Mother Nature provides for evolution of a plant are circumvented. The reason the great potato famine happened was simply because there was only one strain of potato being grown in Ireland at the time. All it took was for one kind of problem that that particular strain was not resistant to swooping through and all the food was gone. If there were two strains, only half of the food would be gone. Here in the US in the eighties, we lost the corn crop for a similar reason, we were using mostly one hybrid of corn and it got wiped out. Now they have it planned out so that we can actually plant clones of a single plant and the whole field would not only be related, but share identical genes with identical strengths and weaknesses. Not too bright.
They also nearly wiped out the Monarch butterfly by splicing the gene into corn to make it produce its own pesticide. They didnít realize it would also kill off the butterflies when the pollen became airborne, and even if it didnít, the pests in question do more in the circle of life than ruin a few ears of corn and lower the bottom line for the farmers.
That said, I do think that there is a place for gene splicing in humans. Like I really wish that the guy who sat next to me on the bus yesterday had a deodorant gene spliced right into his fucking armpits. Jesus. I donít care if it would kill the butterflies, as it stood the odor would have killed an elephant.
It made my eyes water for fuck sake. I wonít be able to eat onions for a good while.
In other news, The City of Lost Children is still the finest film I have ever seen. Still. Name the flaw, I defy you.