Lecture 22 recording

Lecture 22 recording - Genetically modified organisms aka...

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Genetically modified organisms, aka Frankenstein foods as they have been called. Going to be concentrating on American agriculture. Indeed the first genetic modified food was developed by Californian company. European and American responses with this. Mendel’s peas. He was basically trying to modify the traits of succeeding generations of pea plants by controlled crossing of his pea plants. This was bound up with the same motivation of genetic modification of food, in other words the modification of yields to make money. Mendel’s peas laid the conceptual foundation for genetic engineering. It was Mendelian geneticists who developed modern agricultural techniques. Working in the early 20 th century, they started doing crossing experiments with corn within the context of increasing agricultural yield for economic reasons. They developed the first strain of hybrid corn and could massively increase yields. Hybrid corn had taken most of the US fields. The very same problems that beset GMOs were anticipated by the story of hybrid corn. The same environmental, ethical, political, economic were rehearsed by this stuff. For example as Mendel found a hybrid, they breed out with each generation, few and fewer. In order to grow hybrid corn, they couldn’t use the same seeds, they had to go back and go to the company to provide them with the seeds every year. Setup of economic dependency on these companies. This is precisely one of the problems with GMO industry is this dependency. This was already set up in the 1920s. Concentration of power and profit in the scientific sector in breeding stations for this kind of work. Hybrid corn quickly replaced all the traditional variety to the great diminishment of genetic diversity so you end with this monoculture. In 1970 there was a outbreak of the southern corn leaf blight that destroyed the vast majority of the crops and so it
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This note was uploaded on 06/30/2010 for the course CAT CAT 3 taught by Professor Knight during the Spring '09 term at UCSD.

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Lecture 22 recording - Genetically modified organisms aka...

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