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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Recently there has been a differentiation of seed-types at the feed-shop we get most of our seed from. "Heirloom"(Supposedly non-genetically altered, or from what I can construe "purebred" seeds) and conventional seeds. Now, the marketing I've read has put into my mind the thought(And this is likely what their marketing was meant to do), "Are my seeds/crops genetically altered?"

Most of us know the majority of genetic tampering isn't horrible for your body- an increase in beta cerotine or specific vegetables, or something to consistantly increase their size.. well, that's what I thought, well.. check this out!

http://www.fda.gov/fdac/features/2000/100_bio.html

Apparently some of the more recent tamperings include "Corn secreting a protein toxic to certain catterpillars". Now, I know catterpillars are about as far from humans genetically and dietarily(Lol is that a word?) from humans as the sky is from the Earth, but I don't trust any kind of food that kills ANY kind of animal. Especially any kind of insect(Which are usually pretty durable little beasts), or bird.

Now this FDA representative says "No, it doesn't appear so. All of the proteins that have been placed into foods through the tools of biotechnology that are on the market are nontoxic, rapidly digestible, and do not have the characteristics of proteins known to cause allergies."

..but given the very, very lax standards of protocol and regulation the FDA has been exhibiting lately, I wouldn't trust their word as far as I can fling a highrise.
And that ain't too dang far.

Has anyone have any input on this? I'd really love to hear more about it, wondering if the extra $200ish a seeding on heirloom crops would be worth it- and just curious about genetically altered food in general. Can't say I much trust anything that doesn't naturally occur. No six-drumstick turkeys for me, thanks D:

EDIT: And as an afterthought- has anyone who uses heirloom seeds had a problem with crop die-offs? I imagine all those generations of pure-breeding seeds wouldn't be good for the diversity of their immunities and resistances. Maybe the guys who label them "Heirloom" have intermingled them with conventional crops a little bit to keep their disease and weather resistance fair? Just a thought.
 

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Recently there has been a differentiation of seed-types at the feed-shop we get most of our seed from. "Heirloom"(Supposedly non-genetically altered, or from what I can construe "purebred" seeds) and conventional seeds. Now, the marketing I've read has put into my mind the thought(And this is likely what their marketing was meant to do), "Are my seeds/crops genetically altered?"

...

EDIT: And as an afterthought- has anyone who uses heirloom seeds had a problem with crop die-offs? I imagine all those generations of pure-breeding seeds wouldn't be good for the diversity of their immunities and resistances. Maybe the guys who label them "Heirloom" have intermingled them with conventional crops a little bit to keep their disease and weather resistance fair? Just a thought.
I think there is a lot of confusion on this subject. I see a lot of misinformation spread on the subject of heirloom, open pollinated, hybrid and GMO seed.

I would classify heirloom, OP and hybrid seed together in a different class than GMO. GMO seeds are very different because they have not been obtained by traditional plant breeding techniques, long years of careful crossing, trialing, selection, etc. GMOs are fundamentally different because their genetics are tampered with at the molecular level. Genes which are not ordinarily found in that species, and are often not even found in the plant kingdom at all, are inserted into the genetic structure of the plant. This is worrisome to me because I think it is impossible to predict the long term implications of, for example, eating plants which actually manufacture insecticide within their very cells. What really alarms me is that it is practically impossible to contain these genes once they are released into the environment. Most crops cross pollinate to a greater or lesser extent. Corn is a big cross pollinator. Soybeans not so much. These genes are like a virus. Once they are released they spread, and breed, and spread some more. Usually there is no way to tell just by looking that your crop may contain GMO plants. Frankly, that idea scares the hell out of me. Couple all of this with Monsanto's tactics of intimidating, bullying and suing farmers whose crops happen to become contaminated with their genetically modified plants and you have a really nasty situation brewing.

You are right not to trust the FDA. Have you ever wondered why Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan and Europe have banned bovine growth hormone being used in dairy cows, but not the US? Not only is it legal to use in the US, it is not required to have it on the labeling. It's because the FDA has been infiltrated by Monsanto employees.

Uh... anyway, let me stop my rant against Monsanto.

As far as I am concerned, I grow hybrids of some plant species, particularly those which tend to suffer from inbreeding depression. Hybrid sweet corn is particularly good because many varieties are developed for sweetness, earliness, disease resistance, cold tolerance or other factors not found in OP and heirloom varieties. Many OP and heirloom brassicas are also not worth growing, so I get hybrids. Tomatoes, peas, beans, lettuce, peppers, eggplant, etc, are naturally inbreeding plants and hence there is often not much to be gained from using hybrids so I try out different OP and heirloom varieties to see what works in my area.

The biggest objection to hybrids is that you can't save seed for two reasons: 1. The plants don't breed true, and you get a great variety of different offspring when you plant seed saved from a hybrid, and 2. Many hybrids are developed specifically to have self-incompatibility, which means that they are not able to pollinate each other due to being too genetically similar. Outcrossing plants sometimes have this trait to prevent inbreeding. So if you grow one hybrid brussels sprout variety, and save seed, most of the seed will probably be sterile and not germinate. I think it's mostly brassicas that display this problem.

The first issue isn't necessarily a bad thing for a home gardener, in my opinion. If you are growing veg to sell, you want uniform results, but to my mind having a genetic jackpot in your yard can be quite fun for an amateur.

Anyway, to answer your question, I don't know how you can tell if you have GMO plants. GMO corn has even been found growing in isolated areas of Central America and while I have heard of seed companies which claim never to knowingly sell GMO seed, I don't know of any which routinely test for it. Someone please tell me if they do, so I can buy from them. Other than that, you can avoid growing crops which are routinely genetically altered. You can also import your seed from places which don't grow such crops.

I don't grow crops on a large scale, but I haven't had problems with crops dying off. The bigger problem has been that the mature plants don't always tend to be uniform and I have had some fun results from growing heirloom pumpkins this year. :) The thing is, there are dozens of different heirloom varieties out there. There is plenty of genetic material to play around with.
 

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In response to Grimelda, thank you so much for your input. I didn't bother grouping cross pollinated or hybrid in there because I know that (hybrids at least, I use a few hybrid breeds in my garden) they don't have many naturally occuring problems(Excluding their sterility). I'm really concerned about GMO's because of all the reasons you listed :X I'm going to keep my eye out for any seeders that routinely test, I'll let you know what I find.
 

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I'm going to keep my eye out for any seeders that routinely test, I'll let you know what I find.
Please do.

I wrote so much about hybrids because I've seen posts from people who think hybrid = GMO and I couldn't tell from your post whether that is what you were asking about. :)
 

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I know their is a lot of controversy with GM crops and foods right now, and I don't trust Monsanto at all, the Bt toxin that is being put into corn seems pretty safe for human consumption. Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) toxin is a natural toxin produced by a bacteria that has been used for decades by organic farmers. Organic farmers apply a powder to the outside of their plants. The Bt toxin works only when the Bt molecule unfolds under basic (high pH) conditions. The stomach contents of some caterpillars are basic, while mammals, including humans, are acidic (low pH).

Like mentioned by Grimelda, the problem is that these genes can be passed from one plant species to another, with unknown consequences. Patent laws are all F'd up when it comes to cross pollination from one field to another. Bt resistance has been documented in some of the caterpillars, which will have huge consequences for the organic farmers that depend on Bt application and have few options for fighting pests.
 

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Ahh Frankenfoods...perhaps our food will soon eat us!

Read this from Wikipedia about GE food.

We Americans are really setting ourselves up for some kind of serious health problems if we continue to mock nature.

That sounds extreme but I do not believe for one minute that humans are meant to consume GE or cloned food.

According to Wikipedia 89% of Soybeans produced in the US are GE, and 60% of corn is round-up friendly. You can't tell me the suits at Monsanto care whether or not their corn kills off all the critters or...us.

And don't even get me started on eating imported foods from China.

UGH I could go on for weeks.

Anyways I love heirloom seeds but have had a little problem with tomatoes and disease resistance...so...if it is going to rain heavily try to cover them to stop mold spores from landing all over them (very impractical...but I lost 50 plants in August once...they were all loaded), and do not smoke or let anyone with nicotine on their clothes or hands anywhere near your tomatoes. Ever heard of Tobacco Mosaic Virus? I understand it can be transmitted via cigarettes.

Oh - and FTR heirlooms taste better by a 1000x.
 

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Recently there has been a differentiation of seed-types at the feed-shop we get most of our seed from. "Heirloom"(Supposedly non-genetically altered, or from what I can construe "purebred" seeds) and conventional seeds. Now, the marketing I've read has put into my mind the thought(And this is likely what their marketing was meant to do), "Are my seeds/crops genetically altered?"

Most of us know the majority of genetic tampering isn't horrible for your body- an increase in beta cerotine or specific vegetables, or something to consistantly increase their size.. well, that's what I thought, well.. check this out!

http://www.fda.gov/fdac/features/2000/100_bio.html

Apparently some of the more recent tamperings include "Corn secreting a protein toxic to certain catterpillars". Now, I know catterpillars are about as far from humans genetically and dietarily(Lol is that a word?) from humans as the sky is from the Earth, but I don't trust any kind of food that kills ANY kind of animal. Especially any kind of insect(Which are usually pretty durable little beasts), or bird.

Now this FDA representative says "No, it doesn't appear so. All of the proteins that have been placed into foods through the tools of biotechnology that are on the market are nontoxic, rapidly digestible, and do not have the characteristics of proteins known to cause allergies."

..but given the very, very lax standards of protocol and regulation the FDA has been exhibiting lately, I wouldn't trust their word as far as I can fling a highrise.
And that ain't too dang far.

Has anyone have any input on this? I'd really love to hear more about it, wondering if the extra $200ish a seeding on heirloom crops would be worth it- and just curious about genetically altered food in general. Can't say I much trust anything that doesn't naturally occur. No six-drumstick turkeys for me, thanks D:

EDIT: And as an afterthought- has anyone who uses heirloom seeds had a problem with crop die-offs? I imagine all those generations of pure-breeding seeds wouldn't be good for the diversity of their immunities and resistances. Maybe the guys who label them "Heirloom" have intermingled them with conventional crops a little bit to keep their disease and weather resistance fair? Just a thought.


trust your instincts.:thumb: the gov would never lie to you. they are your friend. they only want to help you make more money. GMO is for the children

i wouldnt be suprised if some of the chemtrails isnt designed to kill off certain types of plant that the GMO are immune to.
 

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Ahh Frankenfoods...perhaps our food will soon eat us!

Read this from Wikipedia about GE food.

We Americans are really setting ourselves up for some kind of serious health problems if we continue to mock nature.
.
funny how only the US allows its citizens to consume frankenfood, antibiotics and pesticides. while socialist commie europe doesn't.
what's up with those damn commies?
 

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As a proponent of heirloom seeds, it is exceedingly difficult to plant different seeds. OP are sometimes used interchangeably with heirloom, but this is not necessarily true. I'd rather not grow a hybrid if their is an heirloom that will work, but hybrids are not inherently bad. Knowing the downsides to them and being able to accept them can make them easily acceptable. GMO seed on the other hand deserve vast opposition. Monsanto is horrible, but Syngenta is almost as bad - unless you are an indebted Indian grower (which makes Syngenta worse!)

In the end, you need to determine what is best for your garden and desire. Preferably rare heirloom seeds to maintain the biodiversity. Preferably OP if possible.
 

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One place you can look for non-GMO seeds is Baker Creek Seeds. I haven't ordered from them but they are adamant about no GMO in their seeds, to the best of their ability. They actually test seeds to ensure that they are not selling GMO seeds...

'Heirloom' is somewhat of a misnomer; it doesn't include new open pollinated seeds, which are still being developed [I saw some new ones recently in a catalog - don't ask which one because I have about a dozen hanging around the house as it's seed catalog season]. Open pollinated means that it will breed true if you save seeds [and the book Seed to Seed has lots of information on that, as well as threads on the forum here].

Avoid hybrids whenever possible; they are crossbreeds like mules and will not breed true. They were the first foot-in-the-door to what we have now with the very large seed company owner that starts with 'M' pushing seeds that will not produce seeds for the next generation so that they own all food-producing material.
 
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