Earth Matters by Jacqueline Milner – Is Engineered food on the lunch menu today? February 15, 2012

CFN – According to http://www.thegrower.com  genetically modified specimens of Hamlin orange trees may be planted in Florida field trials once required permits have been obtained.  The modified specimens have been engineered to produce a natural insecticide that wards off Asian citrus psyllids.Plant pathologists K. Cox and H. Aldwinkle from Cornell University identified a handful of naturally occurring insecticides.  Technicians inserted the insecticidal genes in tomato plants in hopes of warding off tomato psyllids which are closely related to Asian citrus psyllids.  These bugs carry bacteria responsible for citrus greening.  This causes citrus fruit to remain green, causes an off taste and can stunt or may kill citrus trees.  The genes that most successfully warded of the tomato pests were transplanted into Hamlin orange plants.  Researchers partnering with Southern Gardens Citrus Inc. of Clewiston are hoping to have preliminary trial results within a year.
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It is common knowledge that plants can defend themselves from attack by producing insecticides naturally when they find themselves in a compromising situation.  No doubt the above experiments are being done to increase the output and insure minimal loss of the fruit from the tree.  Our concern at Earth Matters is the long term affects of such engineering.  What effect does this pose on the life forms that consume this fruit?  Engineering a life form to do something that it doesn’t normally do on a regular basis just seems…wrong?  Fiddling around with Mother Nature brings about an image of playing Russian roulette.

How would we feel if we were genetically modified to have adrenaline circulating in our system 24/7?  I believe we would be on the nervous side, uneasy and find ourselves having a hard time to sleep and would feel very, very tired most of the time.  Adrenaline, after all, is produced in situations that demand we ready ourselves for a “fight or flight response”.

Common sense dictates to this writer that having these trees always on the ready with a genetically engineered “fight response” with this insecticide gene could have far reaching effects which we haven’t even begun to consider.

Spring is right around the corner.  This is a perfect time to consider planting bushes and trees which can be planted in your yard, at your church, local school or service club which can provide many benefits to you and the surrounding wildlife.  Trees provide shade, cover and sanctuary for people and many other life forms.  Trees can provide all this and the benefit of food.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have a fruit or nut tree that nourishes you and your neighborhood birds, squirrels, skunks, pollinators and chipmunks?  Having a fruit tree on your premises offers the opportunity to have abundant organic food at your fingertips.  Contact your local Garden Center to find out what is suitable for your planting location, what is available, what you can reserve and for necessary planting and care instructions of your new tree or shrub.  Also, be aware that you may have to plant a couple of the same species to insure pollination.

One bush that I would recommend is a Nanking Cherry bush.  We planted a couple of these bushes about ten years ago.  The cherries are edible, although they have a high pit to flesh ratio. The birds love them and will quickly eat all of the fruit should you not wish to use for yourself.  They swallow the whole fruit, pit and all.

“Did you know”…thought of the week:  Have you noticed that when it is cloudy during the evening you will not have frost on your windows in the morning?

Your commentary is encouraged and always welcome below or to earthmatters@cornwallfreenews.com

6 Responses to "Earth Matters by Jacqueline Milner – Is Engineered food on the lunch menu today? February 15, 2012"

  1. nate   February 15, 2012 at 10:11 AM

    “Engineering a life form to do something that it doesn’t normally do on a regular basis just seems…wrong?”

    Why?

    “Fiddling around with Mother Nature brings about an image of playing Russian roulette.”

    I’m unsure how you can liken taking a gun, rotating the the chamber randomly and pulling the trigger at your head to the extremely complex science geniticaly modifying organisms via DNA sequencing, analysis etc..

    “..the modified specimens have been engineered to produce a natural insecticide that wards off Asian citrus psyllids.Plant pathologists K. Cox and H. Aldwinkle from Cornell University identified a handful of naturally occurring insecticides…”

    “How would we feel if we were genetically modified to have adrenaline circulating in our system 24/7?”

    As I understand, the natural insecticide would be better compared to passive antibodies in the plant instead of an active hormone like adrenaline.. not the same at all..

    http://www.scpr.org/blogs/news/2012/02/14/4680/code-orange-california-citrus-trees-are-under-atta/
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzTECVk8tVU

  2. Pete Dick   February 15, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    It seems hard to to find any non genetically modified food these days.
    Is there any Canadian produced wheat flour available that hasn’t been corrupted by Monsanto?

  3. Jacqueline   February 16, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    @Pete Dick, check this out http://www.nutrasunfoods.com/organic-flour/

  4. Jacqueline   February 16, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    @Nate, I believe we are better off not trying to manipulate something to function in anything other then its normal state of being. We cannot possibly know what affects this can have on the living organism or the organisms that consume it, hence the Russian Roulette analogy. I am not a Biologist or Chemist, I was simply giving an opinion that the possible outcomes of the bioengineering process could produce results beyond our understanding. Thanks for the share of the link on the parasitic wasp. Hopefully this will solve some of the problems related to the Asian citrus psyllids. It is also worth noting that introduction of a species into an environment to control one species by another can have its own set of challenges. See …http://www.contentcaboodle.com/news-and-society/effect-of-introducing-alien-species-into-an-ecosystem.html

  5. Pete Dick   February 16, 2012 at 9:07 PM

    Thanks Jacqueline. I’ll have to see what the shipping cost is. I prefer shopping locally, but sometimes there’s no choice.

  6. Jacqueline   February 17, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    @Pete Dick…try getting in touch with Homestead Organics, they may have contact information for a supplier closer to Cornwall. http://www.homesteadorganics.ca/

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