Transgenic and organic food

Genetic Modification, controlled selection, hybridization and ingertaciĆ³n; what do they mean and what is the difference?

Imagine that you are growing peas: the sown long ago and it is the harvest season. But you have to seeds for next year, you have to save some peas. How do you decide what you’re going to keep and what you will eat or sell? While you want to eat the best, it is more convenient to save these for re-planting, because those are the characteristics you would like to promote for your next harvest. For example, if you want your plants have high production, one way is to choose and save the seeds from the most productive plants. So every year you improve the genetic quality of your plants with respect to this feature and after several years you will have your own variety of peas.

With controlled selection, never interfere directly with the genetic material of plants, however you can create new varieties over time, for example different types of corn or flowers of different colors.

Hybridization is something that can occur in nature or in the field, is the crossing of two species or different varieties through a process of sexual reproduction (whether in plants or animals). An example that you probably know is the mule. The horses and donkeys are different species but can be crossed, resulting in a hybrid animal that can not be farmed (mule). Like in plants that require pollination (the process of sexual reproduction), is a hybrid of two species pollination between different varieties or.

For example, if you have a variety of red radish and other white radish, horseradish can produce a hybrid pink. Unlike the mule, many of the hybrid plants can be played (ie, have viable seeds) but are not stable varieties tend to lose the typical characteristics over the generations. The seeds that produce hybrid radishes are more varied, some of these will radishes red and other white, but this seed will not normally give the same pink radish. So if you want to continue to cultivate pink radish, you would have to cross the red radish and white whenever you want to harvest the hybrid seed.

Hybridization is completely natural and it is perfectly possible that hybrids are also organic foods.

A graft is a surgery to join two plants, usually trees or shrubs. Ingertar only they are genetically very close varieties or species, such as pear and apple, orange or different varieties. With ingertaciĆ³n you can have a single tree yielding sweet orange, sour orange and tangerine: roughly, short branches of sweet orange and tangerine and connect to the tree of bitter orange (like surgery, this process is not so simple and requires knowledge and experience) and finally will have a sour orange tree with branches that give certain sweet oranges and tangerines others give.

The graft and used in agriculture does not exist in nature, but does not necessarily require as chemicals and has no effect on the genetics of the plant, the plant and its fruit can be organic. As the seed is the reproductive part of the plant that contains the genetic material corresponding to the same original plant: in the above example, if you sow the seed of the original tree (bitter orange), would grow sour orange. But if you sow the seed tangerine same tree would grow mandarino because the fruit belongs to the branch that was originally the mandarin.

Unlike other methods of agricultural manipulation, genetic modification is a fairly new technology that can only be performed by an expert laboratory highly trained and specialized in genetic sciences. The technique involves removing one or more genes from one organism and implant (s) in the cells of another completely different to achieve something that has never existed in nature organism. A real example is a breed of goat that produces silk in her hair but not in their milk. To create this animal, the scientists introduced genes from one type of spider cells from a normal goat and then this modified goat cloned to create a herd of goats milk silk. This was done to make spider silk (a very strong and useful material) efficiently and economically (although the genetic modification process is not economical).

When the genetic modification just beginning to enter the US market, there was a large with the regulation of these products problem. One of the first GM food was a maize producing its own pesticide. Regulatory bodies of chemicals (such as pesticides) not regulated because, they say, was food, no pesticide, but those who were responsible for ensuring the safety of food nor wanted regular basis because, as producing its own pesticide, not considered food.

Today GM foods are a little better regulated, although many argue that there are major conflicts of interest because the politicians in charge of food safety in the US are also executives of the most important in the production of transgenic company. In Europe any transgenic product must indicate on the label but in the United States there is less transparency. Up to 70% of supermarket foods in the US contain genetically modified ingredients, but are not labeled as such.

Fortunately, the definition of organic products prohibits the inclusion of genetically modified foods, so the organic food remains GM-free.

Read on: The case against GM foods.