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Growing GMOs generates buzz

UC Berkeley Cooperative Extension biotechnology specialist Peggy Lemaux spoke at a workshop in Lake County this week, where the board of supervisors have been asked again to consider banning genetically modified crops, according to a story in the Lake County Record-Bee. The board narrowly rejected such an ordinance in 2004.

"Since this is such a controversial issue, I thought it would be wiser to have a discussion in the format of a workshop to talk about these things and decide if we want to pursue an ordinance or some other process," board chair Ed Robey was quoted in the story.

Lemaux told the board that creating a crossbreed was like "cutting and pasting genetic information out of a plant" to create a new plant with a desirable genetic trait, according to the story. Referring to an image in Lemaux's presentation (and posted with this blog entry), farmer Doug Mosel differed from her view, according to this quote from the paper:

"Forcefully inserting DNA from an unrelated organic specimen into a target specimen is not as simple as removing part of a page of one book into another. The leaves of books don't interact the same way living organisms interact. They interact with unpredictable dynamics."

GMOs will likely continue to generate discourse for plant pundits. Case in point, the author of "Plenty - The World in Green" blog today quotes UC Berkeley agroecologist Miguel Altieri, who argues against genetically modifying crops.

“The history of agriculture shows us that there will always be another pest,” Altieri is quoted. “Will we have to keep re-engineering the vines for each one? The solution is not in genetic re-engineering but in making our agricultural systems more resilient.”

Image illustrates Lemaux's point.
Image illustrates Lemaux's point.

Posted on Friday, May 9, 2008 at 1:16 PM
Tags: GMOs (12)

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