Genetic Engineering does indeed have problems

Jim Mason jmason at
Thu Feb 17 11:17:37 EST 2000

I was under the impression that the genome of mitochondria was distinct from
the genome of what is in the nucleus.  Genetic engineering does not add
hitch-hikers like mitochondria to the cell (not yet, anyway) but adds
genetic material to the DNA within the nucleus.  I stand by what I said.  It
is very disingenous to say that "Nature itself likes genetic engineering."
based on the presence of mitochondria and chloroplasts in animal and plant
cells.  You should know better.

Jim Mason, Naturalist
jmason at
(316) 683-5499 x103
Great Plains Nature Center
6232 E. 29th St. N.
Wichita, KS 67220-2200

----- Original Message -----
From: Bruce Walsh <jbwalsh at>
To: jmason <jmason at>; Leps-L <LEPS-L at>
Sent: Thursday, February 17, 2000 10:03 AM
Subject: RE: Genetic Engineering does indeed have problems

Jim writes "Bunk.  Selecting for larger seed heads in wheat is NOT the
same as taking
parts of the genome from a bacteria or a brazil nut and adding it to the
genome of a potato."

Actually, it's very close.  Take wheat for example.  Modern wheat is a
three-species hybrid.  Likewise, most crop plants today have  introgressed
genes from other species.  Likewise, all plants and animals do indeed
contain bacterial genes --- they are called mitochondria and chloroplasts.
Thus Nature itself likes genetic engineering.  Another example:  most
genomes of present-day bacteria contain large chunks for very different
species.  It has been estimated that the present genome of E. coli (our
gut bacteria)  has had its genome turned over (via transfer from other
bacteria, generally VERY unrelated) at least five times.    Nature thus has
long (and quite glorious) history of swapping parts of genomes between
very unrelated species.



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