Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Farmers Genetically Modified Corn 4,000 Years Ago
Ananova ^ | 11-13-2003

Posted on 11/13/2003 3:09:10 PM PST by blam

Farmers genetically modified corn 4,000 years ago

Researchers have claimed that farmers in the US and Mexico changed corn genes through selective breeding more than 4,000 years ago.

The scientists say the modifications produced the large cobs and fat kernels that make corn one of humanity's most important foods.

In a study that compares the genes of corn cobs recovered in Mexico and the southwestern United States, researchers found that three key genetic variants were systematically enhanced, probably through selective cultivation, over thousands of years.

The technique was not as sophisticated as the methods used for modern genetically modified crops, but experts claim that the effect was the same: genetic traits were amplified or introduced to create plants with improved traits and greater yield.

"Civilisation has been built on genetically modified plants," said Nina Fedoroff of Pennsylvania State University.

The ancestral plant of corn, teosinte, was first domesticated some 6,000 to 9,000 years ago in the Balsas River Valley of southern Mexico, the researchers said in this Science magazine.

At first, teosinte was a grassy-like plant with many stems bearing small cobs with kernels sheathed in hard shells.

By cultivating plants with desirable characteristics, farmers caused teosinte to create an increasingly useful crop. The researchers said by 5,500 years ago the size of the kernels was larger. By 4,400 years ago, all of the gene variants found in modern corn were present in crops grown in Mexico.

The plant and its grain were so changed by the directed cultivation that it evolved into a form that could not grow in the wild and was dependent on farmers to survive from generation to generation, the study found.

Story filed: 12:00 Thursday 13th November 2003


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 000; 4; agriculture; animalhusbandry; corn; dietandcuisine; environment; farmers; genetically; godsgravesglyphs; huntergatherers; maize; years
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-4041-46 next last
Is there anyone who didn't already know this?

Something that you may not have known is that the potato, from South America, introduced into Europe in the 1500's caused a population explosion. There are over 2,000 varities of potatoes, some are resistant to the potato fungus that struck in the 1800's and caused the Irish potato famine.

1 posted on 11/13/2003 3:09:17 PM PST by blam
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: farmfriend
Ping.
2 posted on 11/13/2003 3:10:03 PM PST by blam
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam
To consider cross breeding the same as genetic engineering is fraudulent. A GE process can create tobacco that glows with genes from a firefly. When you can do that with cross breeding, you let me know.
3 posted on 11/13/2003 3:14:13 PM PST by aimhigh
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam
Add the hot pepper and tobacco.
4 posted on 11/13/2003 3:17:51 PM PST by RightWhale (Close your tag lines)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam; Alamo-Girl
?.......The 'French' bought-off Colorado judges 4,000 years ago to experiment (GM=WMD) with Colorado corn etc.

(The French to destroy the U.S. Wheat Belt?)

naw,.....the U.N. would not allow that......

/sarcasm

(Go Judges Go)

5 posted on 11/13/2003 3:24:14 PM PST by maestro
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

Amaizeing.
6 posted on 11/13/2003 3:26:07 PM PST by Consort
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: blam
I've been pointing this out in various "GM foods are bas" threads for a long time - where do you srwa the line as what is GM and what isn't - because cross-breeding in plands, and for that matter, selective breeding in animal husbandry are genetic modification.

The only difference between then and now is the scale at which the modification takes place - then, it was on a macrocellular scale - now, it's microcellular.
7 posted on 11/13/2003 3:28:03 PM PST by Keith in Iowa (Tag line produced using 100% post-consumer recycled ethernet packets,)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam
Researchers have claimed that farmers in the US and Mexico changed corn genes through selective breeding more than 4,000 years ago.

Anybody remember who was President of the United States 4,000 years ago?

8 posted on 11/13/2003 3:29:31 PM PST by usadave
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam
The Green Nazis, in their zeal for genocide, (Save the Whales - Humans are Expendable), pretend not to know it.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/745309/posts
9 posted on 11/13/2003 3:31:27 PM PST by JoJo Gunn (Help control the Leftist population - have them spayed or neutered )
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: aimhigh
>To consider cross breeding the same as genetic engineering is fraudulent.

Really, it's not. The goal of cross breeding is to keep genetic traits one wants to perpetuate in future generations, and eleiminate un-desired genetic traits from future generations - how is that not genetic engineering?

>>When you can do that with cross breeding, you let me know.

Given enough time, it can happen. Genetic Modification via cross breeding is very, very slow.
10 posted on 11/13/2003 3:31:39 PM PST by Keith in Iowa (Tag line produced using 100% post-consumer recycled ethernet packets,)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: RightWhale
"Add the hot pepper and tobacco."

Isn't it amazing that all the worlds hot peppers originated in the Caribbean...Thai and Indian food without hot peppers?

The tomato is also a new world food also...and Marco Polo brought noodles back from China...what did the Italians eat before that?

11 posted on 11/13/2003 3:31:45 PM PST by blam
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: blam
Hey, I got 4 varieties of irish potatoes growing in my garden right now. However, after tonight's low (32 degrees), I think it will be time to dig 'em up.
12 posted on 11/13/2003 3:33:34 PM PST by Alas Babylon!
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam
How about eggplant? Thinking that is related to tomato and hot peppers or peppers. Not that anybody actually likes eggplant.
13 posted on 11/13/2003 3:34:12 PM PST by RightWhale (Close your tag lines)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: blam
From the Americas:
Corn, beans, hot peppers, sweet peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, squash, pumpkins, tobacco, long thread cotton, and avacados.
14 posted on 11/13/2003 3:36:11 PM PST by Alas Babylon!
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: RightWhale
"How about eggplant? Thinking that is related to tomato and hot peppers or peppers. Not that anybody actually likes eggplant."

My mom planted jalapenos and egg plant in the same row, every other plant, the egg plants came out hot...no kidding. (I didn't know that egg plants and peppers were related)

15 posted on 11/13/2003 3:37:42 PM PST by blam
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Alas Babylon!
"Corn, beans, hot peppers, sweet peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, squash, pumpkins, tobacco, long thread cotton, and avacados."

You forgot one.

The Curse Of The Cocaine Mummies (Egypt)

16 posted on 11/13/2003 3:41:44 PM PST by blam
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: blam
An eggplant with some heat might be edible.
17 posted on 11/13/2003 3:42:31 PM PST by RightWhale (Close your tag lines)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: blam
Sounds like sneaky roots syndrome.
18 posted on 11/13/2003 3:43:59 PM PST by Sacajaweau (God Bless Our Troops!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: blam
I thought noodles were co-invented by the Chinese and Italians, i.e. created separately, but basically the same thing?
19 posted on 11/13/2003 3:52:24 PM PST by Clock King
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Clock King
"I thought noodles were co-invented by the Chinese and Italians, i.e. created separately, but basically the same thing?"

Marco Polo also brought with him the Chinese cookery to Italy. Dumpling (ravioli) and noodles (spaghetti) are on the list of Chinese cuisine.

20 posted on 11/13/2003 3:59:58 PM PST by blam
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-4041-46 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson