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"The most common form of genetic modification consists of selective breeding for desirable characteristics,"

Of course, and this should be so self-evident that it makes the positions of the "protestors" so ridiculously stupid.

I count myself among those who oppose "GM foods". You're trivializing my concerns over an extremely complex issue, just as you accuse me and those like-minded of doing. "GM" is not selective breeding.

We really don't understand the consequences of, say, inserting a fish gene into a strawberry for "frost resistance." This field is still at a very early research stage, and yet we're being asked to accept products of it?

Where is my ability to make an informed choice? Where are the labels? I can look at a box of cereal and see what ingredients are in it. I can't see what percentage of GM ingredients it has in it. Why not? Yes, I understand the industry's answer: They fear that labelling will cause the "ignorant" consumer to refuse the products. But since when is withholding information "the American way"?

Why would I care? My wife's best friend is severely allergic to corn. Today, avoiding corn in "processed food" is hard for her -- corn sweeteners and starches and all. GM foods make it even harder to avoid food allergies. Will DW's friend someday not be able to look at, say, a banana and know? People die from nut allergies; how will they know someone hasn't decided to insert a peanut gene into their food?

Finally, what is the economic need for GM crops?

Greater yields? Fah. We're drowning in grapes, corn, wheat, cotton.

"World hunger"? Fah. The world is hungry because it can't afford to buy the surplus that exists. GM crops are and will be more expensive to grow, because their "inventors" have intellectual property invested in it, that they expect to reap a profit for.

Important new varieties? Fah. Most of the GM crops I'm aware of are designed to maximize either transportability or corporate profits. Case in point for the latter being Monsanto, and their "Roundup [Monsanto herbicide] Ready [resistant]" line of grain crops. Are you aware of Monsanto's policies regards having "Roundup Ready" genes found in your field? if they find them and you didn't "buy a license" (buy their seed), they sue you, the individual farmer. The burden of proof then falls to you, the farmer, to show that you didn't plant "2nd generation" RR seed. This is a good thing, this new, GM way of doing business?

The fact is, the rest of the world doesn't want GM foods. The U.S. is trying to ram it down their throats, to the detriment of our own farmers, who are finding export markets closing to them. Try googling for "GM crop contamination" if you don't believe me.

Luddite? Fah. If I'm an ignorant Luddite, I fear ever being labelled an informed Technophile. --FY
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