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Date:12/20/2014 4:18:19 AM
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Genetics and Farming, Past II
On one hand, I agree with traditionalists that engineering food seems scary. On the other hand, it is undeniable that we farmers have been tinkering with genetics through cross breeding and choosing the best breeding stock since we've started planting and harvesting thousands of years ago. Scientific research has allowed tremendous breakthroughs in crop production in the last century and a half. So, like any other field of science and technology, we simply must proceed conscientiously and carefully.

I stand in awe of the ancient agriculturalists who were smart enough to think of experimenting with seeds and breeding stock. I can but imagine that they got the idea from observing traits passed on in their flocks and herds and also by observing the traits of the children of their own community. (It strikes an ancient chord, if not a nerve, to talk about the "red-headed bastard step-child”) It impresses me that even though most hybrids, like the mule and many types of grain, are sterile, our ancestors still continued to experiment in order to circumvent that problem and eventually come up with viable crossbreeds which could perpetuate themselves.

I amazes me to consider how all the present day breeds of dogs derived from the wolf. The accepted scientific explanation is “genetic variance,” which would in my mind, deny Darwin’s theory of “chance mutation.” All this countryman knows is that nature has an undeniable power to adapt and overcome any adversity in order to pursue its goal of sustaining life. The key to understanding this inherent power seems to lie in genomes and chromosomes and DNA. For me, however, it lies in the elegant “intelligent” design of nature given to it by its Creator. The all-powerful urge to create, to procreate and to strive for life is to me proof of a beneficent Deity. I am made to believe that to study and to use our understanding of nature for the common good is what we are meant to do as humans. To use this knowledge carefully and conscientiously is what we were created to do as stewards of the earth. --Gary
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