Permaculture forum: Safe Seeds

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Charter ATP Member
hazelnut
Apr 4, 2016 8:25 AM CST
How to find seeds that are not genetically modified:

http://www.councilforresponsiblegenetics.org/viewpage.aspx?p...

This is a review of Ferry Morse (Walmart) from DavesGarden:


Rating Author Content
Negative Amara1111
Niceville, FL
(1 review)
October 2, 2015 I feel a duty to inform/warn others my daughter and I both purchased alleged "organic non-gmo ferry morse seeds" from wal-mart this spring-planted garden-discovered we'd been had by gmo plants. Nothing produced although plants grew tall and even budded as if they would. After exam of both gardens we saw the same genetic deformities in both our plants. Specifically, bell peppers and tomatoes. As soon as budded the ends fell off! We are not unfamiliar with gardening just accuse of buying on the cheap. NEVER again! Its allot of work for NOTHING!!
[Last edited by hazelnut - Apr 4, 2016 8:29 AM (+)]
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Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Apr 4, 2016 8:47 AM CST
I am selective about where I buy my seeds and which brands I'll buy. Make me wonder though if the deformities noted are a result of GMO seed rather than a bad strain. I didn't think peppers and tomatoes were GMO but - hey - I was surprised to learn about some summer squash GMO seed.

Charter ATP Member
hazelnut
Apr 6, 2016 11:07 AM CST
Its amazing to find Monsanto so intrusive into our lives. Hope you are getting your garden planted.

[Last edited by hazelnut - Apr 6, 2016 11:07 AM (+)]
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Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Apr 6, 2016 11:13 AM CST
Intrusive - YES! And Monsanto wants it all.

Charter ATP Member
hazelnut
Apr 6, 2016 5:39 PM CST
Down to our DNA.
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Apr 7, 2016 7:56 AM CST
Hilarious! Hilarious! Hilarious! Well, heck! that might be the next market - selling human DNA (modified, of course).

Charter ATP Member
hazelnut
Apr 7, 2016 8:43 AM CST
Oh I think they are going to try to sell modified DNA as a cancer prevention. But you know you can turn cancer genes on and off with stuff like curcumin. You don't need modified DNA.
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Apr 7, 2016 9:13 AM CST
But curcumin won't have millions of dollars of PR behind it. Smiling

Charter ATP Member
hazelnut
Apr 8, 2016 7:02 AM CST
Yep. A lot of the sell points for cancer treatments, and vaccines are just out of date in terms of supporting science. You can work on your immune system, you wont need the vaccines, and greatly reduce your risk of cancer.
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Apr 8, 2016 7:23 AM CST
The only vaccine I consider is tetanus because of playing a lot with dirt.

Charter ATP Member
hazelnut
Apr 9, 2016 9:59 AM CST
Even the holistic vets are talking about the damage to dogs of over vaccinating them.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Aug 31, 2016 6:17 PM CST
The only commercial GMO tomato I ever heard of was the "FlavrSavr" variety that has not been sold for around ten years (fortunately).

According to Wikipedia, "Currently there are no genetically modified tomatoes available commercially,"

I THINK that there have been some field trials of GMO peppers, but I'm pretty sure none have been approved for commercial use. If true, not even Wal-Mart could sell them.

My own main beef with GMOs so far is that they are only created to increase someone's profits, not to reduce food prices or to increase nutrition, taste or sustainability, or to decrease hunger where people can't afford tons of irrigation, fertilizer, tractor fuel and 'cides. I hope that the newer "CRISPR" GE technology is used by more organizations with goals other than "corner the seed market and impoverish everyone but our customers". "NGO GMOs" might be much more humane in their goals than "Monsanto / Syngenta / DuPont" GMOs.

I've never seen or heard anything good about seeds sold at Wal-Mart. The cheap packets are so small that they aren't even really cheap. And Wal-Mart squeezes their suppliers so hard that the motivation to cheat, skimp or lie is great. I'll keep buying seeds from places that respect their customers AND their suppliers, and try to sell a fair product for a fair price - not shoddy goods at prices unfair to suppliers.
Name: Daniel Erdy
Catawba SC (Zone 7b)
Permaculture Sempervivums Hybridizer Xeriscape Plant and/or Seed Trader Organic Gardener
Bee Lover Daylilies Region: South Carolina Garden Ideas: Level 2 Herbs Region: United States of America
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ediblelandscapingsc
Sep 1, 2016 12:19 AM CST
I agree your seeds are not GMO seeds
­čî┐A weed is a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered­čî┐
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Sep 1, 2016 6:41 AM CST
I'm not as familiar with CRISPR technology. I think I saw a short blurb somewhere just recently.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Sep 1, 2016 11:40 AM CST
CRISPR/Cas: They worked out a slicker way to modify DNA than the old "Agrobacterium plasmids" GE technique.

The plasmids were like shotguns firing slugs: they took one big, long chunk of DNA (typically including some transgenic DNA) and blasted it or spliced it into the genome SOMEWHERE. Somewhere random, so that it was not coordinated with other DNA and had to include its own promoters and initiators and ... I forget the other genetic elements, like control elements and regulators. Anyway, they often used bacterial DNA for promoters, to make one stretch of DNA produce lots of copies in RNA.

Not that it only ADDS DNA, and adds it to a random location. Typically, they would find one or more genes that they want to ADD, then cross their fingers and try to tack on regulators, start-stop signals or whatever, from whatever species or genetic library they thought might work. Then they would test in the lab and select versions that show promise. Then field trials. Then convince the FDA and consumers that transgenic DNA plus trial-and-error is a good idea.

Expensive, slow and clumsy. But it was better than the prior method, coating hard particles with DNA and then randomly blasdt8ng them into cells with compressed air, hoping that some got into the nucleus!

(I'm skipping over TALEN, which was an intermediate technique that looked great until CRISPR came along and was MUCH better.)

CRISPR is cool in that it EDITS DNA. Instead of scrounging genes from bacteria and what-have-you, splicing them randomly into the genome and hoping, it lets crop breeders look at specific genes already in the crop. Typically they'll have a complete DNA sequence of the variety they are improving, and of many other varieties that have at least some desirable qualities.

(That may be another part of why CRISPR is better than Agrobacterium plasmids. Today, breeders have full DNA sequences available in "libraries" , plus growing knowledge of what many of those genes do, and what sequence changes are needed to change certain properties. Ten or twenty years ago, everyone had much less knowledge like that, and had to use a big hammer to get results.)

CRISPR is more scalpel-like. You identify exactly what DNA base-pairs in what gene you want to change, and then you EDIT exactly that change in exactly that gene. Not add, edit. Not "in some random, uncontrollable location". In base pairs # 12345 through 12399, in gene "Qwerty357".

They can decide that they like or want to test the version of that gene in one variety of (say) corn , so they edit that gene in the variety they are improving. They can edit a gene to exactly match the gene in other varieties.

Or, with more effort, they can even analyze the enzyme involved and try to make it more efficient by trying out NEW versions of the enzyme that they invent themselves, based on computer models of how the modified enzyme might fold and react. (That kind of "enzyme engineering" is so hard that they usually change just 1-2 amino acids at a time, so that their predictions are more likely to give a desirable result. It's much easier to borrow something that works from a sister variety, than to invent something new and then TRY to make it work!

As radical geneticists discovered when they tried to create an "artificial bacterium" from scratch, "forget about it". They just kept failing totally until they decided to START with a living bacterium that nature had created, and then edit it down to the simplest form that still "worked". That soon taught them how little they understand. Under the hood, life is even more complicated than Burbank, Darwin and modern biochemists realized. Sure, we might understand 20-30 volumes about the simpler aspects of molecular biochemistry. But LIFE appears complex enough to need 300 (or maybe 3,000 or 30,000) volumes.

CRISPR is not grafting big blocks of transgenic DNA from bacteria, fish and whatnot into food crops. It's changing just a few amino acids in chosen proteins. There might still be unexpected side effects, but probably hundreds or thousands of times less uncertainty and potential danger, because the change is thousands or tens of thousands times less extensive, and usually comes from the same SPECIES, not from different genuses and even Families.

This is key: they don't need to flounder around with transgenic DNA, hoping that some major change will be an improvement. They could say "we like 'the way the tassel curls' better in corn # ABC-123 than in this ZYZ-789 strain we're improving". Since they often know the 3-5 genes that affect "tassel curl" , they can look for other varieties that curl the way they want, and then try out versions of the genes FROM the varieties with desirable traits, IN the variety they are breeding.

NOW the MOST important part comes into view. Since they have some knowledge of how it works in one variety, they can more nearly predict what it will do in another species. Instead of wandering around through bacteria and fish, hoping that throwing some big cluster of transgenic genes at a problem might help it, they are doing much simpler things, more like merging two versions of a document or tuning an engine than grafting a fish-head onto a chicken.

With CRISPR there is much less trial-and-error, and it lends itself well to using NO transgenic DNA!

In the past, genetic engineering was REALLY slow and expensive. Trial and error, working blind by today's standards. And then the field trials to get FDA approval were where most GMO crops failed, after years of heavy spending. And consumer rejection, widespread in Europe and Japan, and fairly widespread in the USA, kills more crops even AFTER commercial approval.

So first-generation GE was too expensive for NGOs and universities to attempt. Only for-profit Borg like Monsanto could afford to do it, and their R&D was 100% targeted at profit. "Sustainable profit" in the sense that attack-lawyers gave them a total lock on the market that no one could struggle against, whether it starved people in India or not.

But now, with CRISPR, university labs, GMOs and under-funded research groups in developing countries CAN do GE.

Sometimes THEIR goals are alleviation of starvation! Improved nutrition. Ability to grow on marginal land and in too-hot or too-dry climates. Crops for climate change. Combining as many favorable traits as possible into a few NON-transgenic OP varieties, so people could save their own seed again.

I see that as a major improvement.

Downside? Well, Agrobacterium plasmids only worked on plants.

CRISPR works just fine on animals including humans. It's already being used in research, to find actual CURES for serious genetic diseases of humans.

And it could be used to meddle with our genes in other ways. It's more difficult to get those changes into the germ line so they will be passed along to human descendents, but I think there is some progress on that as well. Maybe, some decade, "designer babies". (I really wish that the name of the human species was true, that "Homo sapiens" meant we were wise.)

It IS a Brave New World. As the Firesign Theater said:
"Sure, living in the future is like having a hive of bees in your head. But there they are!"

Or as J'Kar said in Babylon 5:
"The future isn't what it used to be."
[Last edited by RickCorey - Sep 1, 2016 1:37 PM (+)]
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Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Sep 1, 2016 2:38 PM CST
Per your description, I like that there's no transgenic DNA and that developers aren't solely profit-driven. Might even be some ethics involved.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Sep 1, 2016 3:39 PM CST
It opens up that possibility!

On the downside, I saw some website selling "CRISPR kits" and reagents for that process. The prices were really reasonable, though getting the PhD to know what to do with them would be expensive and time-consuming!

I'm not eager to read some new "Darwin Award" about someone buying a DIY CRISPR kit and trying to modify his beagle's DNA, or his brother's!

At least it is still difficult to get those changes into the germ lines of animals! (I think they use tissue culture / micro-propagation to do it with plants). We can't raise people in Petri dishes (yet). Fortunately.

Maybe technologies like this are "IQ tests for species". If we use them to turn ourselves into radishes or Jell-O, we didn't deserve the planet, and will have to pass it on to whatever comes next, bidding for the species name "sapiens".

Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Sep 2, 2016 7:31 AM CST
"IQ tests for species" - Hilarious!

Charter ATP Member
hazelnut
Sep 2, 2016 8:11 AM CST
http://www.naturalhealth365.com/nutrients-nutrition-1949.htm...

Rather than modify the genes, you can just enrich the nutrients that determine how they behave! GMOs are out of date. Modification of genetic behavior by enriching biologically available nutrients is in.

Ontario, Canada (Zone 6a)
Phenolic
Sep 10, 2016 8:13 AM CST
RickCorey said:My own main beef with GMOs so far is that they are only created to increase someone's profits, not to reduce food prices or to increase nutrition, taste or sustainability, or to decrease hunger where people can't afford tons of irrigation, fertilizer, tractor fuel and 'cides. I hope that the newer "CRISPR" GE technology is used by more organizations with goals other than "corner the seed market and impoverish everyone but our customers". "NGO GMOs" might be much more humane in their goals than "Monsanto / Syngenta / DuPont" GMOs.


You should read up about "Golden Rice"! It was engineered to synthesize beta carotene in rice endosperm, increasing the vitamin A content of rice. It was created to combat nutrient deficiencies in parts of the world were rice is a staple, but it hasn't been grown commercially due to the bad rep and scare caused by herbicide resistant GMOs.

hazelnut said:http://www.naturalhealth365.com/nutrients-nutrition-1949.html

Rather than modify the genes, you can just enrich the nutrients that determine how they behave! GMOs are out of date. Modification of genetic behavior by enriching biologically available nutrients is in.



That's a nice thought, but controlling gene expression through environmental factors alone isn't usually enough to add or reduce traits as desired from plants. Conventional breeding and genetic engineering are ultimately needed to modify genes in organisms to produce more desirable traits. Conventional breeding can only be used to select for better traits that organisms already have the potential to unlock. Genetic engineering, on the other hand, is pretty useful for borrowing traits from other organisms or removing undesirable traits from an organism altogether instead of only reducing the expression of the trait.

I will admit, though, that GMOs haven't been designed intelligently thus far. Like any new technology there are many kinks to work out, and early adopters will always be paying more for what are basically commericialized working prototypes. But with the introduction of cheap CRISPR genome editing I hope that universities, academics, and non-profits will be able to produce truly useful plants that are more practical and beneficial to society than what corporations have cranked out so far.
[Last edited by Phenolic - Sep 10, 2016 8:27 AM (+)]
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