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GM Crops: “Single Point of Failure"

Over a holiday BBQ with friends in the computer industry, I
was describing my concern that GM crops in the US represent a threat to food
I explained my suspicion that if we limit the number of genetically
unique seeds sold as GM corn and GM soy crops in the US that it makes the crops
vulnerable. It is my understanding that there are only a few genomes from which
these crops were originally engineered.
I was thinking of this because of the “Great Potato Famine”
of Ireland. They ended up with a single type of potato that was the primary
food source for people and for the cattle and cows in Ireland. Then a disease
attacked that potato and it was disastrous. We use corn for food, animal feed,
and fuel. And soy is in virtually everything. They only had 5 million to feed
to feed at the time of the “Great” Famine. A million people left Ireland. We
have 311 million plus people. Where the heck would we go?
A single crop with limited diversity–characteristics can be more
easily destroyed by a pest or by weather – because there is not sufficient
diversity to create strong and resistant strains that thrive in the vast number
of microclimates around this nation. Even old numbers from the PEW Institute
indicate that at least 90% of all corn and soy (and cotton) in the U.S. is now
from GE seed.
I support Prop 37 – the requirement to label GM crops –
mainly because of the above. I believe that a few corporations have ignored
this essential point of food security in the interest of profit over sanity.
When I finished stating my concerns, one of my friends (remember the first
paragraph?) used the term ”single point of failure” – and I thought it summed
it up beautifully. It is, I gather, an engineering term that means exactly what
it says, that a single action can bring down an entire system. It is what the
U.S. GM crops of corn and soy are building to – a single point of failure. We
are all at risk.

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