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simpsonger
Aug 1, 2014 2:30 PM CST
Do you have any info on Pollen drift from gmo plants and what measures to take against cross pollination?
Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
And in the end...a happy beginning!
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Horseshoe
Aug 4, 2014 9:08 AM CST
I think you'll have to be more specific, simpsonger. What kind of plants are you growing, and are you growing acres or a small backyard garden?

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Shoe
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Aug 5, 2014 5:48 PM CST
Cross pollination is nature's way of making genetic modification, if you think about it.

It just happens slower and more randomly when nature does it than when scientists move the pollen along.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
And in the end...a happy beginning!
Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Garden Sages I sent a postcard to Randy! I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
For our friend, Shoe. Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Enjoys or suffers cold winters Birds Permaculture Container Gardener
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Horseshoe
Aug 5, 2014 7:09 PM CST
"Cross pollination is nature's way of making genetic modification,"

Almost true, but not quite, Dyzzy. Natural cross pollination is considered hybridization, a natural happening; GMO is a man-made happening,, far different from anything natural and is not necessarily a transfer of pollen but a transfer of DNA, either from another plant or animal. The OP was concerned with the pollen of a GMO crop drifting onto a non-GMO crop, and that would create something that is not natural. Or in the world of Nature, not the norm.

I certainly wouldn't advise someone to accept it as a natural (and safe) happening.

Shoe
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
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RickCorey
Aug 6, 2014 6:48 PM CST
I agree, Shoe.

It's natural hybridization when two plants in the same or very closely related species swap pollen. That's just stirring the pot. Those genes have all been mixing in the same or similar populations for thousands or millions of years. (Or maybe genes from wheat in Georgia, Russia are mixing with genes in wheat from Georgia USA.)

A little mixing and selection occurs every year, and change is relatively slow. o think the main safety feature of traditional hybridization is that "genes that come from wheat stay in wheat". Umm ... ummm ... got it! The word that means "NOT transgenic" is "cisgenic".

It's genetic engineering when a team sits down with a huge library of DNA fragments from bacteria, molds, fungi, frogs, fish and plants. Moving DNA from a DIFFERENT species into a crop is "transgenic" change. Called "Frankenfood" to sound glib or scary.

Genetic engineers study what they want to change in a crop variety at the biochemical level, and then look for genes that might help. They don't care much whether that gene comes from the original species itself (different variety) or from luminescent bacteria, rattlesnakes or Bigfoot.

Exactly like "one from Column A and one from Column B".
Even the first-generation of GE tools made that fairly easy compared to 6 to dozens of generations of breeding trials.

The "first generation" of GE tools used a circular DNA fragment borrowed from the plant pathogen Agrobacterium. That bug EVOLVED to insert it's DNA into plant cells, causing tumors or warts. Biologists couldn't figure out how to do that on their own, so they copied the sequence of that circular DNA fragment ("plasmid") into their libraries of nifty DNA sequences.

Then they add whatever DNA sequences they want to the plasmid, and multiply it until they have lots. The they use it to infect a tube full of plant cells, and select out the ones that were changed. Then they grow the cells back into whole plants with "engineered DNA added".

In "short":
Agrobacterium plasmid-mediated transformation of plant cells
using DNA fragments 'engineered' using techniques including:
sequencing, recombinant DNA methods, polymerase chain reaction and others developed since around 1960"

Some of the downsides of that "first generation technique are:

1. the new DNA inserts itself into some random location on random chromosomes of the target crop. It's like adding a page to a book in a random place.

Hence,

2. The new genes are not located next to and under control of whatever natural control mechanisms cause that gene to be expressed, multiplied or inhibited.

Hence,

3. The engineers have to provide engineered initiator sites, promotor sites, maybe regulator sites if they are REALLY fancy, and get all those to behave either in a way the plant finds beneficial or the engineers think is cool.

All those "sites" are yet more DNA sequences, typically plucked out of the DNA sequence library. The promoter and initiator sequences typically come from sec9ond or third species quite unrelated to the plant itself.

4. However, biological control over the new genes' expression is still uncoordinated with the plant's growth phase and environment.

5. ALL these transgenic DNA sequences are slapped into the plants genome randomly and remain there forever, even though the only genetic change WANTED was the one little target gene that was the purpose of the exercise.

Kind of like driving in a small thumbtack with a 5 pound mallet ... and leaving the mallet inside every copy of the product sold, forever.

Next: second generation genetic engineering tools
I'll try to make it shorter. My track record with that is NOT good.

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
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RickCorey
Aug 6, 2014 7:08 PM CST
TALENS and CRISPR are much newer GE techniques. They solve the problem of "slap it into any old location in the genome and then just TRY to regulate its expression!"

Instead of shotgun blasting a huge load of alien DNA every time, they provide a means to EDIT instead of INSERT . That may not seem huge in a word-editing-program, but it is huge in genetics.

They don't rely on Agrobacterium plasmids. They don't have to insert that entire DNA plasmid in order to carry the target gene (like one passenger on a big bus).

They don't have to slap in transgenic promoters, initiators and hoped-for-regulatory DNA sequences.

Instead they are "aimed" at an exact location in the target crop's genome! Most interesting crops' DNA have been sequenced and genengineers can point at an exact sequence of wheat DNA nucleotides and say "This is the gene for blahblahblah, it controls the enzyme mumblemumblease. Here on the near left is its promoter region, then we see some stuff that we think regulates it, and way over there before those other related genes is the initiator for the whole gene complex. "

"We want to change this one amino acid in the enzyme mumblemumblease from glycine to methionine. So we want to change THESE THREE nucletides from GGA to ATG. Abracadabra CRISPR Shazaam, here is the sequence we need to make that exact chnage at that exact spot and nowhere else."

This lets them play to their heart's content without adding ANY transgenic DNA at all. \

The changed enzyme is still nder control of all the mechanisms the plant uses to control that gene and that gorup of genes (unless the playfull engineers deicde to tweak the control mechanisms to really learn about how they really work.

It's intrinsically much safer, but so much more powerful and easier / faster to use that now companies and countries that could not afford to use First Gen Agrobacter plasmid tools CAN afford to experiment with CRISPR.

That's good for companies and countries that want to develop crops to minimize famine instead of maximize profits.

That's good for people who fear or are cautious about deploying thousands of square miles of transgenic crops loaded with gobs of semi-random DNA from random species attached to a plasmid that EVOLVED TO jump genes around from plant to plant.

The fact that the edits are AIMED AT specific DNA regions of specific species is great.

Maybe the good features of CRISPR are bad news for people who don't trust low-budget nerds with powerful gene guns.

Oh yes. Also ... CRISPR techniques work just fine on humans and other living things, not just plants. That's VERY good news for people with genetic diseases.

That's really exciting news for medical ethicists.

Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Aug 6, 2014 9:44 PM CST
Holy cow, professor! I really learned how ignorant I am, and managed to read through both those posts all the way, AND come out at the end reading there is Good News?

Now, as the original poster asked, if pollen is drifting downwind from a field of Abracadabra CRISPR wheat, what's going to happen? Nothing to prevent the pollen from transferring the "edited" DNA, right?

To prevent the pollen from getting to your plants, hm, running a fine mist sprinkler on the windward side of your field might wash most of the pollen out of the air, but it's sure going to cost a bundle in water! Planting a windbreak of tall trees would be a better, long term solution. They used to plant Lombardy poplars for that purpose because they grew fast.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
[Last edited by dyzzypyxxy - Aug 9, 2014 8:57 PM (+)]
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