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From: Oz <>
Newsgroups: alt.agriculture.misc,sci.agriculture,sci.environment
Subject: Re: genetically altered corn??
Date: Wed, 5 Mar 1997 07:32:22 +0000

In article <5fimpo$>, 'grandma'
<> writes

>I don't know what you mean by 'See celery'.

It came up earlier on the thread, so in the interest of brevity...

There was a variety of celery that was nicely disease resistant. It was
rapidly dropped from sale when it was discovered that the packing staff
came up with severe blebs and rashes when they handled it. This is an
extreme case but it pays to remember that typically 10-15% of the dry
matter in plants are toxins designed to minimise predation. After all,
what else can a plant do to prevent it? Insects that prey on plants
typically avoid the toxins (eg aphids) by various routes or are able to
detoxify the toxins, but usually only from one plant or closely related
species. This is why for many caterpillars the food plant is an
important diagnostic. Humans (like many monkeys) operate with an
enhanced detoxification system, and eat plants widely so that no
individual plant is eaten in enough quantity to become significantly
toxic. It is important to bear in mind that most plant toxins have never
been tested for safety, and the few that have have been are particularly
nasty and fall seriously short of the safety requirements required for
man made pesticides.

>  I can't remember where I
>read the reference, but I wasn't just making this up.  They really are
>using a kind of nut to get genetic material for gene splicing, and
>someone with an allergy to that type of nut was affected when eating
>the resulting product.

What gene are they looking for from a nut? As far as I am aware the only
GM food that was on sale was the Flavr Savr tomato until this harvest
year so your apocryphal story seems odd.

'Oz     "Is it better to seem ignorant and learn,
         - or seem wise and stay ignorant?"

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