Question: As a master gardener, I am discouraged that your article on pest control promotes GMOs. plants as a means of pest control for home gardens.
A: As a former Master Gardeners instructor, I am disheartened that you are confused about genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. Sometimes people argue over a controversial topic without knowing the definitions of the words they are using. Sometimes they are confused by acronyms.
For example, let’s look at the acronyms and the terms “GEO” and “GMO”. “GEO” is the abbreviation for genetically modified organism and “GMO” is the abbreviation for genetically modified organism. These two terms are often mistakenly used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing.
The United States Department of Agriculture defines genetic modification as: “The production of inherited improvements in plants or animals for specific uses, through genetic engineering or other more traditional methods.” Some countries other than the United States use this term to refer specifically to genetic engineering.
The USDA defines genetic engineering as: “The manipulation of the genes of an organism by introducing, eliminating or rearranging specific genes using the methods of modern molecular biology, in particular techniques called DNA techniques. recombinant. “
In the definition of genetic modification, modification can be either genetic engineering or “more traditional methods”. Traditional methods include the simple selection of ancient plants that has taken place for thousands of years! The USDA is correct that genetic engineering is a type of genetic modification. According to the USDA definition, all seeds and garden plants created by traditional plant breeding are genetically modified.
Throughout history all organisms except natural clones have been and always will be GMOs. Even identical twins are GMOs from their parents.
At present, there are no genetically modified seeds available for home gardeners. Every packet of seeds, including all old and organic packets, still contains GMO seeds, even if the label says they are not.
Just look at the USDA definition and you will see that all garden seeds meet their GMO definition. All garden seeds are genetically modified seeds. We love genetically modified plants. This is how we obtain new varieties of food and landscape crops that are more robust and more resistant to disease.
Do not be afraid of genetically modified plants and animals, because every plant and animal throughout history has been a GMO.
Every food plant in your garden and plant in your landscape is genetically modified. We are always on the lookout for new genetically modified plants and animals. We want to find the improved characteristics of increased production, better quality and better disease resistance, and we want to stop using plants and animals that we believe are not improved. Plant and animal breeders are constantly improving our landscapes with more beautiful flowers, our pets with improved animal genes, and our gardens with new hybrids, such as late blight resistant zucchini. Genetic modification is normal, natural, is happening all the time, and there is nothing wrong with it.
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