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Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Word On Seeds....

Well I was talking to Silver and the kids about watermelons, and an interesting question came up. How do you get seeds for “seedless” watermelons? Now I know that those white “seeds” are seeds, but anyone who has grown watermelons and has seen the seeds you plant for them. Know they are not those little white “seeds”. So if the watermelons don't produce a standard seed, how DO you get the seed?

That brought on another question, as my reply to Silver asking about seeds for seedless watermelon was. “The same way you get seeds for a GMO that has the terminator gene in it.” Which as anyone knows, isn't an answer.

So, how do they get the seed stock for the terminator plants? I imagine you can make a new batch every year, but here is another few questions. What happens if they make a mistake? Where would they get the original seed to genetically modify? I imagine that eventually if they have their way with it that, there would be no seed without some “markers” from the GM corn. Look at Mexico for example, where they did not allow GM corn to go into their country as seed corn. Now though, due to the fact that they did allow “food stuffs” to come in with GM corn. So what did the “poor” farmers there do? They take some of any of the corn they eat and save it to grow. Now they are finding in different places around Mexico that some of the GM corn “genes” are mutating their corn plants. Sometimes so that the plant is producing multiple ears per leaf. Now on any standard corn plants they only have one per leaf. The officials are telling the people to NOT EAT OR SAVE THE SEEDS. They even want the farmers to destroy them. What does that tell you about the GM genes?

What happens when the terminator gene crosses over there? Mexico has many varieties of corn that are only seen there. They plant their corn near the “wild” types that corn came from way back when. So the wild corn is a grass, so if that “gene” jumps to the “wild” type would it then cross over to standard grass?

So, back tot he original question that led to this, seedless watermelon seeds. Well we have been told that the seedless types are a hybrid, now my mother says seedless ones have no flavor. She is right the seedless ones to me seem to not have the “flavor” I associate with WATERMELON, so is that a good side affect of the hybrid? Also why would you hybridize a plant to not produce a viable seed? What is the point of that?

One could almost question, are seedless watermelons a GMO in disguise? It would make more sense than “forcing” nature to do something unnatural. Producing something without any seed is not that far from producing one with a sterile seed. The big difference here is corn the “vegetable” part is the seed. Whereas the watermelon it has nothing to do with the seed. So we go back to where the “greed” of the BIG M and the idea of their terminator gene come into play. If the farmer that is buying watermelon seeds from you cannot use the seeds from the watermelon he grows because there are none then he has to keep buying from the seed company. Which is what happens with the terminator gene that is out there. Makes good money sense doesn't it? To the seed company any way....

Makes you think doesn't it?


  1. Big fan of your blog, but you should know that "seedless" fruits aren't the result of true genetic modification, like "BT" corn or other familiar GMOs.

    In fact, you could use any parental plant--including an heirloom--to generate seeds for "seedless" plants. I will spare you the details, but some very clever botanists use a (naturally occuring!) chemical to alter the number of chromosomal copies in each seed. The subsequent plant is able to set fruit but the chromosomal number is incompatible with embryo (seed formation). It does not endanger the genetics of the parental plant, or prevent you from "seed saving" even on the same vine.

    Like many agricultural technologies, it may SEEM to be scary or unnatural, but in fact it is not harmful and results in more efficient food production. I don't want to sound combative, and I am all about organic and sustainable farming practices, but I am also of the opinion that we shouldn't reject good ideas because technology is involved (or its "not been done that way before"). For example, one should only consider the affordable clothing on your body before joining the Luddite movement.

  2. .. umm I wasn't really downing the "idea" of a seedless product. Just really a comment on the fact that it seems very much like a GM idea.

  3. Think of them like a mule. You cross breed two perfectly healthy parents that have sterile children. To get more mules, you keep reproducing those same parents.

    Nothing harmful.