Bare Bones Biology 265 – Genetics for Everyday

Recently, Jill Witting showed me her backyard poultry project. We talked about the difference between Hybrid corn, hybrid chickens, cloned animals and GMO (genetically modified organisms).

Cloning is the process of making offspring that are genetically the same as their parent by taking one or more cells (or one nucleus that contains the parental genes) and growing that cell/nucleus into a new plant or animal. Cloning has been done with livestock and plants. With most plants cloning is relatively easy and is referred to as taking a cutting.

Hybrid corn is made by creating inbred lines and crossing them together to generate hybrids. If the two parental lines are well chosen, the resulting hybrid is more vigorous and productive than either parent and at the same time all the offspring are uniformly productive.

150630-Wittig-ASC_7827RLSsGenetically modified organisms have been changed so that the DNA in the chromosomes includes genes that are not normally found in those species. It is not yet known for certain whether these genes are harmful to humans, but it is clear that the process of raising GMO foods is extremely harmful to the soil and to the air and to the water of the commons, and in other ways harmful to the Biosystem itself, as was predicted and clearly described by Dr. Martha Crouch in her landmark paper that you can download from my web site.

So who cares about these technologies? And how should we react to them? That’s what Jill and I were talking about.

<aLL”What’s the point? You can buy chicken in the store as cheap as almost anything.”

JW “And it’s all fed corn, and corn in this country is hard to find that is not genetically modified. And I’m trying to limit my children’s exposure to GMO.”

LL “GMO corn.

JW “The goal. This is a trial run. I started with twelve, and lost two babies. My goal is to have enough for my family and to trade.”

LL “Trade for what?”

JW “That’s the spice of Life! There’s all kinds of things to trade. I want to be a part of the community, and having something to trade is a great way to get to know people.”

LL “It sure is.”

JW “And if not, we can definitely consume all these. I can make sixteen servings, four meals, out of just one bird. So there’s a lot of meat to get from that one animal, plus it’s a way to get my children to consume vegetables in a broth, and I find it’s a very healthy protein option, plus. We have one cow a year, now the chickens, and I would love to get some locally raised pork and/or lamb. I would love to have a little bit of both in my freezer, now I just have a lot of beef.”

150630-Wittig-ASC_7823RLSs LL “I quit eating meat, for the most part, when they started injecting hormones into it, which I think is probably worse than GMO, but we don’t know yet how GMO will turn out.”

JW “Well find out, won’t we, and unfortunately my children are the generation – – -“

LL “They won’t find out on your children – good for you.”

JW “And, I feel like, as with anything in life, it’s about balance, so if you aren’t consuming all your meat, all your milk, all your water full of hormones, and you’re limiting it where you can – –

LL “You can’t limit it 100%.”

JW “The stress of trying to limit it 100% I think would kill you just as fast as – – -“

This is Bare Bones Biology a production of and KEOS Radio 89.1 FM in Bryan, TX.


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