Genetic engineering is a Good Thing?

Harold Lindaberry harlind at
Sun Sep 20 15:30:05 EST 1998

Marty Sachs wrote:

> In article <6u2ldj$bqu$1 at>, harlind at wrote:
> > Having been around when hybrids first came out and in visiting many Ag
> >meetings at the time and seen yield data comparing inbred lines vs. hybrids
> >there were a number of inbred lines that out yielded many of the hybrids. IMO
> >one of the reason that hybrids made the quantum leap with hybrids ( from the
> >seed company standpoint at least ) is with inbred lines the farmer buys
> one bag
> >of seed catches the seed and he's in the seed business or at least he doesn't
> >have to buy seed next year whereas with hybrids if he catches the seed
> >replants, he has maturity and other characteristics all over the place.
> >Admittedly where hybrids may offer a somewhat wider range of conditions where
> >they work.
> A minor correction here. Before hybrid corn, farmers grew open pollinated
> varieties (OPVs) or land races, not inbreds.

    I screwed up on the terminology but there was an inbreeding process
to come up
with the OPV'S or at least that was my impression ( I'm not a corn
breeder ) but
there was some research in coming up with the lines but IMHO opinion not
nearly as
much as put in to hybrids.

“ Nature limits what we can do, Science limits what we understand,
Theory what we can think, and Religion what we can hope “ Lindaberry

Harold Lindaberry    reply E - mail    harlind at
visit OXGORE website at

>  These cultivars were highly
> polymorphic and maintained their vigor (and thus yield) by out-crossing.
> Inbreds, at that time, produced very weak plants with low yield.  It is
> true that OPVs yielded as well or better than early hybrids.  In fact,
> inbred parents for early hybrids were such poor producers that order to
> make hybrid corn production economically viable, double-cross hybrids were
> produced.  Today's inbreds give better yield than early single-cross
> hybrids.
> > Since the seed companies are in the seed business of selling seed, and
> knowing
> >where their OX is tethered their decision was obvious. I'm not saying that
> >yields are not better because of hybrids because the seed companies can afford
> >to get bigger and do more research to develop better inline strains at the
> >breeding foundation stock level. There are many non hybrid crops where yields
> >have risen at an equivalent rate just due to better research and
> development at
> >the foundation breeding level. That's just my opinion !. How much is due to
> >true " hybrid vigor " and how much just to better research at initial
> >foundation stock level is IMO up for grabs. If you can only sell one bag of
> >seed per customer vs. many bags every year " how much breeding research
> can you >afford to do "?
> Yes, seed companies put their resources into developing better inbreds,
> which in turn produce better hybrids.  However, IMHO, the revolutionary
> aspect with respect to farmers was that if they wanted to consistently
> produce the best and highest yielding corn crop, they were now forced to
> purchase seeds each and every year.  This was not the case before hybrid
> corn was widely adapted.
>       -Marty Sachs

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