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View Diary: Darwin's Nightmare (199 comments)

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  •  whoa! (none)
    hybrids are not 'sterile'.  In fact nothing about a hybrid prevents it from producing fertile seed.  Hybrid just means that (Parent A)X(Parent B) = Child C.  That's it.  

    Then there are supposedly sterile plants.  An obnoxious flaming magenta flowered wetlands invader, purple loosestrife, had a sterile strain on the market.  Good news for landscapers?  Nope.  That strain turned out to only be self infertile.  If there were any other strains of purple loosestrife within pollination range, it produced viable seed.

    We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

    by Fabian on Thu Feb 23, 2006 at 06:04:04 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Hybrid Seed (none)
      I think, will break down into its components and not come up true if collected from the plant and replanted the next season. The whole point of hybrids is to make you buy them over and over,while they tell you of the advantages.

      And there are some. My heirloom yellow tomatoes ripened and started to go soft almost right away. Delicious but clearly not good sales for the mass market. Even difficult getting them to a farmer's market on time.

      Heirloom seeds have been collected and preserved by a precious few people and may be our only defense against wipe out of crops when that time comes.

      Wes Jackson at http://www.landinstitute.com (net?) is preserving prairie grass seeds and developing new combinations of them for mass agriculture in the future.

      •  yes, hybrids revert to their progenitors (none)
        I'm a big fan of OP and heirloom vegetables.  The big problem with commercial seed isn't the hybrids, but that it is created with conventional agriculture in mind, with abundant nutrients and water and a narrow soil pH range.

        So commercial seed producers are also pushing a certain type of agriculture, heavy on the petrol and petrochemicals and fertilizers.  That's the real crime.  Lower input agriculture needs crops well suited to local conditions - relative water abundance, soil pH, soil fertility, pest and disease resistance and length of growing season should all be suited to the region.  Only regional producers could do that well.  

        We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

        by Fabian on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 07:03:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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