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atomic seeds

Atomic seeds

I think it is entirely appropriate to talk about how GE and other methods are used, and how they fit into the food system. But it is really difficult to say that GE gets some of the blame for obesity, given that the path connecting those two is indirect and not a necessary consequence of the GE traits. Perhaps you could argue that making corn and soy continue to be profitable and thus grown on a wide acreage has not helped those who are trying to diversify the American diet, but we would still have the same vending machine junk foods with or without the GE versions of these crops. Maybe they would be a little more expensive without GE. But I once heard Belinda Martineau, a critic of GE, admit in a public forum that GE seems to get the blame for all the ills of conventional agriculture. (unfairly) Since mutagenesis has helped corn and soy breeding as well – does it also get some of the blame for obesity? Breeders are also trying to bring in genetic diversity from landraces and wild relatives – if this genetic diversity also helps grow more corn and soy or protect it from disease, is genetic diversity also in-part responsible for obesity as well? How about refrigerators?

IMAGE: “Normal” dwarf tomatoes growing alongside “atomic energized” dwarf tomatoes, photo by Frank Scherschel for Life, via Pruned.

IMAGE: Aerial view of the Institute of Radiation Breeding, Hitachiohmiya, Japan.

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The difference between “matters of fact” (i.e. “In most cases mutagenesis causes more unintended phenotypical changes than transgenesis.”) and “matters of concern” (i.e. “Transgenic plants should be grown because they are “less dangerous” than mutagenic plants”) are vast.

IMAGE: A new classification system for various types of genetically modified organisms proposed by scientist Kaare M. Nielson, via.

IMAGE: Mutant crop varieties mapped by The New York Times.

* “What do GMOs taste like?”
* “Who benefits from Agricultural BioDiversity?”
* “How are non-humans effected by changes in the human food system?”

In Matters of Concern around the implementation of transgenic technology of food crops, I try to generate interesting questions. (Artists being “Problem Seekers” after all.) Asking “Are you For or Against GE Crops?” is a rather uninteresting question because it contains a yes or no answer. Instead at the Center for Genomic Gastronomy we have attempted to ask three primary interesting questions:

Atomic seeds

Another Danvers type carrot with distinctly scarlet coral roots reminiscent of the 16th century before Dutch growers bred carrots to the orange colour we are all familiar with. Roots average 15-20 cm (6-8″) in length and possess a very sweet taste and very crunchy texture!

Carrots will grow well in any open, well cultivated, deep garden soil. As the seed is quite small, mix it with some sand when sowing. Once soil temperature rises above 7.5 C (45 F), sow seed about 7-15 mm (1/4-1/2″) deep in rows spaced 45-60 cm (18- 24″) apart. Sow seed at 5 day intervals over several weeks. Keep the seedbed evenly moist during the 2 week germination period but avoid crusting over the soil as this will greatly reduce the number of seedlings that emerge. Thin the seedlings during the early stages of growth until they are 5 cm (2″) apart. Keep the plants evenly watered, weed free and avoid high nitrogen fertilizers. Harvest any time after the carrot roots develop good colour.

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