SCIENTISTS SEE FOREST FOR TRANSGENIC TREES
Daniel B. Wheeler
dwheeler at ipns.com
Wed Aug 1 22:26:24 EST 2001
Totara <down at the.woods> wrote in message news:<3B676D7D.91909096 at the.woods>...
> "Daniel B. Wheeler" wrote:
> > Totara <down at the.woods> wrote in message news:<3B65ABD5.1D07151D at the.woods>...
> > > Daniel
> > > Natural hybrids are cross pollinated by wind.
> > > Manmade hybrids are cross pollinated in the nursery;
> > > transgenic trees are modified using implantation of genes at the
> > > microscopic DNA level.
> > I guess I'm still confused. Natural hybrids would be something that
> > happens in nature by wind pollination. Such _might_ occur in the
> > creation of the Leland cypress, which is a cross between Alaska Yellow
> > cedar and Monterey cypress. Might...but not very likely.
> > Manmade hybrid are cross pollinated in the nursery. I think Leland
> > actually chose trees in nature to cross-polinate by hand, but I could
> > be wrong. But since it was still hybridized by man it's still a
> > manmade hybrid, right?
> Leylands cross pollinated in a Welsh park where the parent trees grew together,
> which they don't in nature, so in a way it is a man made natural hybrid.
> Subsequent Leylands have been hand pollinated.
> > And a transgenetic tree would be something that was like a Leland
> > cypress but with a gene for, say, an insecticide from a painted daisy
> > (pyrethrium) inserted into the genetic make-up?
> Yes or worse, a sterility gene that renders all conifers sterile round and about.
Wouldn't that require that genetic material be transferred? How could
pine genes be transferred to cedar or vice versa? How could genetic
material be transferred between fir and hemlock? Doesn't that go
against the definition of "species"?
> Or a pig gene that makes the tree look for its own truffles!
Although I sense some facetiousness here, most trees in nature
actually _do_ search for truffles. In fact, some truffles will not
terminate unless the spores are affected by an exudate produced by
tree roots. Pigs gene for the tree? Unlikely. But the problem I see is
that somehow, an introduced gene could affect the tree's ability to
survive over time.
> Could this be the end of the world as we know it?
Who can tell over time? If no one asks the right questions, will
anyone search for the answers? Technology is a wonderful thing. But
it's only as good as the developers. And when developers have a vested
Daniel B. Wheeler
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