transgenic plants --UPDATE--

Michael L Roginsky d_micro at ix.netcom.com
Wed Sep 18 15:32:49 EST 1996


Hello folks.......quick update....I still am working to get a
"transgenic-plants" newsgroup going. Meanwhile shall we just post about
transgenics in this newsgroup? Thanks....Mike Roginsky, aka, Micro.



In <horto006-1409962151000001 at dialup-17-a-140.gw.umn.edu>
horto006 at gold.tc.umn.edu (Grey N. Horton) writes: 
>
>In article <4n88pe$aqu at dfw-ixnews4.ix.netcom.com>,
>d_micro at ix.netcom.com(Michael L Roginsky ) wrote:
>
>> In <Pine.OSF.3.91.960505121536.14917B-100000 at osf1.gmu.edu> Gabriela
>> Valencia <gvalenci at osf1.gmu.edu> writes: 
>> >
>> >       I am interested in learning more about transgenic plants. 
Does 
>> >anyone know about any transgenic plants resistant to pesticides?  
>> >       Do you think it would be beneficial environmentally as well
as 
>> >economically to bring transgenic plants (such as the FLAVR-SAVR
>> tomato) 
>> >out into the market?
>> >                       Gabriela
>> 
>> I have tried to get a word to the netcom webmaster about starting a
>> "transgenic plants" news group. So far I have one other person
>> interested. If you are, email me. I think it takes several
requesters
>> in order to for a news group. Micro.
>> 
>> As far as transgenic plants go, I think it is a good idea. We all
use
>> too many chemicals to get plants to survive. Hybrids with resistence
>> are the only solution on the long term.
>   I understand Monsanto is working on something of the sort, but what
I
>can't remember.  I know that Pioneer Seeds (from here in MN) has just
>released a new soybean cultivar that is resistant to Round-Up. 
Whether or
>not it is transgenic, I don't know (but I doubt it).
>
>   Transgenic plants that are herbicide resistant could be benificial,
but
>could also have some bad effects.  These could include promotion of
>herbicide usage and introduction of the gene to wild relatives (thus
>making a super-weed).  I think that a crop by crop assesment of
whether or
>not it would be appropriate is in order, as well as transfer by
transfer
>assesment.  I know that Monsanto has transformed potatoes with the bt
>gene, but there are always fears about insects becoming resistant to
>insecticides and plants resistant to herbicides.  That's the nature of
the
>beast, though.  The more you use something on a crop, the more quickly
>something will develop a way around it.  This is part of the reason
that
>IPM (Intergrated Pest Management) has been gaining popularity quickly.
 It
>is a mix of spraying, use of resistant cultivars, beneficial insect
>release and cultural techniques designed to _reduce_ damage done by
>pests.  Any good agronomist or pathologist will tell you  that you can
>never hope to eliminate damage from pests, but you can control it.
>
>   I find your logic in declaring that "hybrids with resistance are
the
>only solution in the long term" is weak.  The more sprays used, the
more
>complex the situation becomes, due to higher The trend is in
agriculture
>is to use less and less sprays, emphasizing instead cultural practices
and
>IPM.  Herbicide resistant plants are only a part of the equation. 
Plants
>are also being breed to better resist weed competion and some research
>into ground cover crops to interplant with cash crops to suppress weed
>growth.  I believe that genetic transformation is a tool: like any
other
>tool, it can be used for good or ill.  It is a tool I plan on using in
the
>future: I am just starting in a PhD program in Plant Breeding, so I
feel
>very strongly about these issues.
>
>   In a way for personal experience of other people's opinion's, I
give
>you the case of My Mother vs. the FLAVR-SAVR Tomato.  When I went home
for
>Christmas two years ago, my mother boldly stated how horrible she
thought
>the FLAVR-SAVR was during Christmas dinner (with a full complement of
>guests).  Now let me tell you that my mother is pretty liberal, but
when
>she doesn't understand something, she makes very deep-seated decisions
>based on how she feels about some thing (ie, she likes what she likes,
>often based on impressions rather than logic).  Anyways, she went on
to
>rail against this poor defenseless tomato that obviously couldn't
speak in
>it's own defense.  So I asked her if she knew what had been done to
the
>tomato.  Of course, she had no idea.  She was going with how she felt
>about such a foriegn, "man-made" thing.  So I explained to the dinner
>party how they had isolated a gene that expressed a cellulase enzyme. 
The
>protein derived from this gene would cleave the bonds between the
cells
>that made up the tomato.  Normally, this would result in the rapid
>softening of the tomato.  What they did with the tomato DNA was to
insert
>a copy of that same DNA that coded for the cellualse enzyme, but just
a
>bit different.  This meant that the RNA made from the original copy
would
>be floating in the nucleous would meet a _mirror_image_ of itself: the
>product of the inserted gene.  The two single strands would come
together
>and form a single strand.  This in turn prevented expression of the
gene. 
>Why on earth they put this into the MacGregor tomato is beyond me. 
Why
>not put it into something worthwhile?  While I'm on my soap box, I'd
like
>to point out that most of the tomatoes available inthe summer are
actually
>picked at what is called "physiolocial maturity"- that is, it's almost
>ripe, but still green and without much flavor.  THey are stored in a
>controlled atmospheres and exposed to ethylene, a ripening hormone
before
>being shipped.  This is how we get those nice, pink, cardboard
tomatoes. 
>See what I mean about a crop by crop and transfer by transfer
assesment of
>transformation?  It's really not something you can put in a category
of
>good or bad: it's just a tool.




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