July 30, 2013
Only Genetic Engineering Can Save Orange Trees

The C. liberibacter asiaticus causes the citrus greening that is wrecking orange crops worldwide. Looks like only genetic engineering can save the crop. Would you rather eat genetically engineered oranges or no oranges?

I am reminded of the prospects for the return of the American chestnut as a result of genetic engineering against a blight fungus.

As the world becomes more interconnected local diseases with the ability to do severe damage to a species go global. This is the problem faced by orange trees.

So thumbs up or down on genetically engineered orange trees? Ditto for chestnut.

I say bring it on.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2013 July 30 09:49 PM 

Ronald Brak said at July 31, 2013 12:29 AM:

To me it's a very odd question. Commercial organge trees (bushes really) have a variety of key modifications from their ancestral stock. This is obvious when one considers that for a long time it has been possible to buy seedless oranges, which is not a trait exactly selected for in the wild. Oranges have been genetically modified for a long time. The question should be thumbs up or down for one more in a long line of gentic modifications.

destructure said at July 31, 2013 2:54 AM:

Everyone ate the Gros Michel banana until the early 1900's when Panama fungus wiped them out. Now everyone eats the a Chinese variety called the Cavendish that used to be considered crap. A more virulent strain of Panama fungus is attacking the Cavendish. Of course, there are other varieties of bananas that can be developed but they'd likely eventually be affected as well. Without genetic engineering we may be looking at no bananas, too.

jp straley said at July 31, 2013 5:19 AM:

it's species in the wild that are the main question. we face questions of gross genetic simplification of wild ecosystems (yes, I know few of these are left, but they are a reservoir population).

don wilkins said at July 31, 2013 5:42 AM:

I have always considered the ruckus over gentic modifications to be silly. Humans have modified plants since the early days of agriculture. Just because we move genes around through mechanical means rather than cross pollination doesn't mean the product is evil.

So bring back the chestnut tree, save the oranges. Wonder if there is a way to bring back the Gros Michel mentioned by destructure.

Gladiola said at July 31, 2013 7:22 AM:

The fate of wilderness is to grow, once the human population sorts itself out. Think of the post Chernobyl wilderness in Ukraine, and project it to cover wide areas of the planet that are now developed. The new wilderness will incorporate what it can of the human-altered genome, and reject whatever is not fit to compete with wilder strains.

To think that humans are somehow outside of nature is a religious delusion that drives much of the politics of the developed world. But religious delusions are also part of nature, and will be thrown into the bear pit to fight it out along with everything else. None are likely to survive against wilder strains of survival memes.

James Bowery said at July 31, 2013 8:20 AM:

Do we have any choice? Of course not. "The politics of exclusion", as necessary as it is for consent to be meaningful, is deemed the equivalent of Satan-worship by.... welllll... by.... I better not say or I'll be in deep sh*t.

destructure said at July 31, 2013 4:09 PM:

"I have always considered the ruckus over gentic modifications to be silly." -- don wilkins

The left claims the right is "anti science". Perhaps on some issues. But there are a number of issues for which the left is anti science as well. GMO is one of them. Nuclear is another. I'm not a fan of either because I have a cautious nature. There are legitimate risks. But the left has taken it to a level of hysteria which the science doesn't support.


James -- That was rather cryptic. But if I deciphered it correctly then we're of the same mind.

Ronald Brak said at July 31, 2013 10:28 PM:

So, what is the left?

Dalor Morterson said at August 1, 2013 8:29 AM:

Well said, destructure.

Jack Nicholson described the left quite well in the film "As Good as it Gets." His character was explaining how he as a male writer was able to portray female characters so well. "Start with a man . . . take away all reason and accountability . . ."
Libertarians and other non-leftists could better understand the leftist mental milieu using a similar mental transform.

Ronald Brak said at August 1, 2013 2:48 PM:

Dalor, thanks for that added information, Dalor, but it's still not terribly helpful. Some names would be nice. Obviously "the left" is going to have different meanings in different countries, so I'd like to know what individuals mean by the term.

Randall Parker said at August 3, 2013 10:35 AM:

Ronald Brak,

To understand why people have different ways to do moral reasoning a good place to start is Jonathan Haidt's The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided By Politics And Religion.

But one also has to develop an understanding of ideologies. Remind me some other time and I'll recommend some reading.

Ronald Brak said at August 14, 2013 8:22 PM:

Just to give an example of how confusing things can get, the Liberal Party in Australia which is considered "right wing" banned most of our guns on account of how we kept shooting each other, stood up for the right of lesbian couples to have government funded fertility treatment, and in its current incarnation appears more in favour of command and control and more opposed to free markets than our "left wing" Labor Party.

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