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Re: hybridization vs. genetic engineering

On Tue, 22 Jul 1997 17:47:37 -0500 "S. Rae Schnapp & Jeff Smith" wrote in
reply to  Karen Mundy <karenm@vt.edu>
>There is a good reason why you are confused. 
>In a sense genetic engineering and hybridization both accomplish the 
>thing - they both result in new genetic types.  
>The difference is in how they acccomplish this.  
>Hybrids come from seeds that are developed by cross-pollinating 
>parental types so that the next generation will be a very uniform crop 
>hybrid vigor.  Hybrid vigor is typically observed in outcrossing 
>(grasses and grains for example) when two very different inbred lines 
>cross pollinated.  The hybrid gets half of its genes from each parent.
>Genetic engineering usually refers to biotechnological methods that 
>can be
>used to insert a very small piece of genetic material (DNA) so that 
>resulting plants can be nearly identical to the parent, except for the 
>or genes that were inserted.
>Nowadays, some hybrids may have genes that are artificially inserted, 
>high tech biotechnology methods.   But, generally speaking, hybrids 
>are not
>genetically engineered, that is , not using high-tech or 
>In some sense though, plant breeders have been genetically engineering 
>for hundreds of years, because they have been using traditional
>hybridization (cross pollination) techniques to obtain new 
>(recombinant) types.
>I hope this explanation is helpful.  

  There is one BIG difference between the two as I understand it Dr.
Scnapp.  Traditional plant breeders have never been able to splice a gene
from a fish or animal, or even a microbe, into one of their hybrids. 
Those using  biotechnological Genetic Engineering techniques can and have
done just that.

  Then, due to the laxness of the regulations and the relaxed attitudes
of the USDA officials, these new recombinant type hybrids have been
released with little or no testing.  Not only that, but they have ben
forced upon all of us by the decision to NOT require labeling.  And in
some instances, attempts to get labeling have been thwarted by those same
officials and the courts such that labeling has been declared illegal.

  In my opinion, such actions are criminal!

--Dan in Sunny Puerto Rico--

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