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Grey
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Seeds: Hybrids and GE

I'm a little rusty on terminology here - when a seed packet says it is a hybrid, is it just a cross between two plants that was done by mixing the male/female parts of two plants together to create the new variety?

I'm a little skittish about the new genetically engineered plants that are being freely used in our agricultre and want to stick with the old-fashioned varieties with all their wonderful flaws and differences.

grandpasrose
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Hey Grey! Gets confusing doesn't it? :?

Genetic engineering is the deliberate, controlled manipulation of the genes in an organism by artificial means with the purpose of modifying existing traits or adding new genetic traits to that organism. This is usually done independently of the natural reproductive process

Hybrid is an offspring of two plants of different varieties, or species, created by interbreeding with the natural reproductive process.

That is my understanding of it anyway - unless I'm confused too!!! :roll:
I agree, I want to stay with the old tried and true seeds that I know and trust. What's wrong with them anyway? :?:
VAL
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Grey
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Hey Val - thanks for confirming that. :) It's the modifying of genetic material by artificial means that worries me.

Hybrids do not bother me so much - we've been doing that for centuries. Corn, apparently, way back when, was about like baby corn is now. American Indians kept working with it to make it bigger, I'm sure we kept up the progress, and it's the giant it is today.

opabinia51
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Actually, by definition; two species cannot crossed to produce a new organism. A species is defined by the fact that when one species genes are recombined with another "species" genes, that the resultant zygote (if a zygote even results) will be either sterile when grown into an adult organism or will die.

Anyway, yes a hybrid is just the crossing of a two different varieties of a given species. The problem with hybrids is that most often, the hybrids are incredibly inbred resulting in the extreme pronunciation of given traits and the total loss of other traits. Also, the variability of that strain goes down to nil.

Heirloom varieties have not been crossed with other varieties of the same species and as far as vegetables and fruits, tend to have better flavour. Though, the same tends to go that these seeds are not outcrossed and over time, if there is no outcrossing, genetic variability (and even traits such as flavour) can be lost.

So, it is a catch 22.

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