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New Seeds needed to resist climate change - expert

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posted on Jun, 5 2008 @ 10:21 AM
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New Seeds needed to resist climate change - expert


africa.reuters.com

ROME, June 5 (Reuters) - The world needs to breed new varieties of crop seeds resistant to climate change or risk food shortages far worse than the current crisis, a leading expert said on Thursday.

"Failure to act ... would make what is happening today look like the calm before the storm," Cary Fowler, head of the Rome-based Global Crop Diversity Fund, told Reuters on the sidelines of a June 3-5 U.N. food summit.

"We will need totally different plant varieties" to confront climate change for crops such as rice, wheat, maize or sugar, he said. The Fund opened a "doomsday" vault in the Norwegian Arctic in February, seeking to store away all crop seed varieties.
(visit the link for the full news article)




posted on Jun, 5 2008 @ 10:21 AM
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Personally I wonder if we are tampering a bit too much with nature. My point here is that I do agree with tackling world hunger. If I can help it I will always go out of my way to feed the hungry. However, I think that a great starting point would be to stop engineering non-seed bearing species. Right now the farming community has the average mid to large farmer paying 10s of millions of dollars each year on seed because the crops they produce will not procreate. This is due to genetic engineering. Slowly we are crippling ourselves by doing this. Now they want to genetically engineer seeds to deal with 'possible' changing climates.

You know, if they come up with seeds that can produce in droughts or ones that can produce with less sunlight then I say go for it. But if they are going to engineer them where only a few companies can profit from it by making the seeds sterile I must fully disagree.

Either way, this is a disturbing story that may very well be the cause of some of the greatest wars this world has known. Starving people will start to do anything to get what they need.

africa.reuters.com
(visit the link for the full news article)



posted on Jun, 5 2008 @ 10:34 AM
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This news strikes me as one of the first steps to usher in Genetically Modified (GM) seeds.

Touted as the answer to the worlds food problems, but articles here on ATS have noted that the GM seeds don't produce as much as present day seeds whether hybrid or heirloom.


Most gardeners, and I'm sure all farmers realize it's not the seeds so much as it is to how they're grown for the climate they're in.


As an amateur gardener with a vegetable garden, I'm having to learn new ways to cope with the heat of the desert.
It was easier in Central California, but so far, I'm doing ok.

Same thing with some of the gardeners here on ATS who live at altitude in Colorado.
Different - and shorter - growing seasons as well as soil types different from the Arizona desert and Sunny California.


And . . . contrary to the opinions of some, hybrid seeds can be saved and grown the following year.
You probably won't get the precise plant that you would with that years newly purchased hybrid, but it will be usable.

As an example, with the Early Girl hybrid tomato, this years seed matures in 60 days or so if I remember right.
Using 2008 seeds saved and planted next year what could happen is you'll get the same plant with all the characteristics the same except you may end up with a plant that matures in 75 days instead of 60.

Good post, gave it a flag and a star.



posted on Jun, 5 2008 @ 05:23 PM
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reply to post by dariousg
 


I agree that the GM seeds can be a bad idea, but i think this article is talking about breeding seeds. This is different than GM.
As stated, seeds produced by hybrids can be used the following season but the stability of the plants characteristics are not always sufficient to produce the exact same plant the next year.

The Early Girl tomato is a good example, the offspring from its seeds may have the characteristics of one of the parent plants or possibliy both. You just dont know and that is where the problem lies. If you are growing hybrid tomatoes for cold weather and you keep the seeds for next season, they may not have the cold weather characteristics and your crop may be killed by frost because you planted too soon, because you thought it would be a cold weather plant.

It is possible to make hybrids more stable but it takes time to revert the hybrid back to an open-pollination plant.

On a seperate note, GM plants cause problems because essentially we dont know everything about the process. A scientist may GM a tomato to withstand frost but that change may affect its ability to ward off certain diseases. And its kind of trial and error.

So its not as though GM crops are inherently bad its just we dont know enough about the potential consequences. There needs to be much more research before we start pushing these crops out into the environment. Its just like any advancement in technology, sometimes there are unforseen consequences and when it comes to GM crops, we are messing with our food and there is potential to mess things up really bad. More research is needed.



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