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View Diary: Stonyfield Farms using GMOs (146 comments)

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  •  Yeah, evolution that's been speeded up (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mem from somerville

    many orders of magnitude with cobalt-60 and other sources of radiation:

    Though poorly known, radiation breeding has produced thousands of useful mutants and a sizable fraction of the world’s crops, Dr. Lagoda said, including varieties of rice, wheat, barley, pears, peas, cotton, peppermint, sunflowers, peanuts, grapefruit, sesame, bananas, cassava and sorghum. The mutant wheat is used for bread and pasta and the mutant barley for beer and fine whiskey.

    (snip)

    The process worked because the radiation had randomly mixed up the genetic material of the plants. The scientists could control the intensity of the radiation and thus the extent of the disturbance, but not the outcome. To know the repercussions, they had to plant the radiated material, let it grow and examine the results. Often, the gene scrambling killed the seeds and plants, or left them with odd mutations. But in a few instances, the process made beneficial traits.

    link

    •  It's not evolution sped up, because (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roadbed Guy

      evolution relies on both the random mutations and the effects on survival over the generations. The mutations have been sped up in this case, but the selection is using different pressures. The mechanism doesn't bother me. The questions is, what are the results and their implications for the natural environment.

      Intelligence is not something you should avoid - Camper Van Beethoven

      by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Jan 23, 2011 at 03:26:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Evolution doesn't care what pressures did the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mem from somerville

        selecting . . .

        For example, enzymes for laundry detergents were evolved and selected exclusively within a laboratory

        •  Evolution is, and has been, a natural process. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Roadbed Guy

          I don't think this is evolution, because it is being driven by an intelligent actor imposing its own criteria on the process. But maybe this is just nitpicking. I could say all of these are evolution. My point is that there is a difference, because what is being done in laboratories is being guided for an external purpose.

          Intelligence is not something you should avoid - Camper Van Beethoven

          by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Jan 23, 2011 at 03:34:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Maybe you want to call it (2+ / 0-)

            *directed* evolution

            But the beauty of it is that there really is no intelligence involved in the key step of the evolution process, which is figuring out what mutations are needed to make a protease (for example) work inside your washing machine rather than in your body . . . .  people just aren't smart enough to do that (at least not yet).

            •  Well, yes, (0+ / 0-)

              But I think there may be a danger in being too confident in the power of these kind of random changes to bring about results that are perfectly tuned to our desires, without unwanted side effects. Enzymes are one thing, but there is a lot more going on in plant species, and in the larger environment.

              Intelligence is not something you should avoid - Camper Van Beethoven

              by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Jan 23, 2011 at 04:10:20 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

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