Biodiversity or What the “F” is a Pluot

I am doing some work that I should have done a while ago. When I transferred the blog from Blogger to WordPress, the video posts didn’t transfer how I would like them to and I also kept some posts that really shouldn’t exist in this space anymore. So instead of a video tonight I am going to be running through some thoughts on beer, food, wine and the affect of GMOs in our life. (wow that sounds heavy)

I have been reading Maureen Ogle’s blog off and on for a while now. She is getting ready to release a book that goes into detail about the meat industry in the US. A worthy cause and something I highly recommend you checking out when it is available.

The subject of GMOs has been coming up on her blog lately. They are a hot button. It is almost impossible now to read anything about food or drinks without running across snippets about GMOs and organics. A particular post (What’s in your beer? Or, the dangers of dumbassery) brought up the subject of how misinformation can spread like wildfire.

This also reminded me of the trouble I have with much of the debate with GMO vs. “traditional” foods. For me personally GMO means that the food has been genetically modified. Now bear with me, this isn’t as simple as you might think. By genetically modified I mean a scientist in a lab has bent the laws of nature and changed the fundamental DNA of the item in question.

This relates to doing stuff like adding animal DNA to vegetable DNA in order to give the food qualities it would never have on its own. When I preach anti GMO this is exactly what I am talking about. This is not something I am willing to risk my families health on.

But there is another practice that has been in place for years that seems to have fallen into the GMO side of things, selective breeding. This process is a way to breed qualities into the plant that will allow it to survive and thrive. An example of this is the corn farmers near our home. They detassel the corn in order to control the crop that next years seeds will come from. Of course this process modifies the genetics of the corn crop. But at the same time it is working with nature in order to build a stronger species.

This is a process that has been used for probably as long as we have been growing crops. When you look at the bigger picture this same process is used in other aspects of life as well. The mule is a cross between a donkey and a horse. It has the benefits of both species with less of the drawbacks. But then the crazy thing is, they can’t produce off spring.

Humans are little different than this. We pick and choose our mates. Part of the reasoning for this is to bring out strong genetic lines… Well sometimes that is in question lately when you look at our choices for Reality TV.

The problem that comes from this type of cross breeding is the lack of biodiversity. Look at the table that most of us have grown up with. The tomato you can buy in most super markets was bread specifically to be a certain shape and size and of course a specific color. In our search to find that perfect tomato we have killed off species that weren’t as commercially viable. We give up certain things in order to bring about other things. It is a trade off.

Now to look at this from yet another angle. Imagine the wine world we would have right now if not for cross breeding. The US wine world would not exist. When immigrants first came to the country with their hopes and dreams they found quite a few varieties of grapes. But none of them were suitable for the wines they knew and loved. To make matters worse, the grapes from the old world did not thrive in this country. They died to blight stemming from the roots.

And then an idea changed how it all worked. By using root stock from the US grapes and splicing the vines from the European grapes to the roots, a hybrid was created that not only thrived but has gone on to be some of the best wine in the world.

So I guess this brings us back to the question at hand… What the fuck is a pluot?

They are a cross between an apricot and a plum. In my quest to find the answer to that I read that it can take up to ten years of breeding to find a plant that will produce the perfect pluot. Just thought you should know.

Time for a pint…

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10 thoughts on “Biodiversity or What the “F” is a Pluot

  1. Franken-fruits, cool 🙂 My friend who has a big garden was just recently telling me about separating her squash from her cucumbers so the vines don’s grow together and make nonedible franken-veggies. I had never thought about that happening. Never heart of a Pluot either. Now I will have to be on the lookout…

    • That sounds a bit strange. I believe it comes from cross pollination, more than just the plants getting tangled. Although our cucumbers were threatening to grow into our watermelons. That could be an interesting mash up.

    • Agreed. It becomes a case of stifling innovation and new good processes vs. doing the same thing over and over again.

      Granted I personally prefer to stay away from actually changing the DNA of something just because we can. To me it is just as risky as changing the DNA of children because you don’t like their hair color. That is just plain vanity.

      But working with nature to strengthen a species, while maintaining biodiversity is a good thing.

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