Friday, August 27, 2010

This May Not Crack You Up

Scientists: We've cracked wheat's genetic code

The human genetic code was cracked ten years ago. Corn and rice have had their codes cracked, as has soy. I wonder if wheat will now be sold in "Roundup Ready" genetically modified form, as soy does. If we eat enough of it, do we become Roundup Ready also?

People of Mesopotamian descent are perhaps somewhat more likely to be somewhat more nearly adapted to eating wheat.  The rest of us are likely to manifest some degree of gluten/gliadin intolerance.  That leads to myriad maladies, like leaky gut and autoimmune diseases. But I digress...

A sad note in the article states, "Among the potential benefits of tougher strains of wheat: Lower prices for bread and greater food security for the world's poor." Why, you may ask, is that sad? Well, consider that:
  • grain agriculture provided a reliable, storable, dense source of macronutrients
  • which made it possible for our ancestors to band together in ever-larger communities
  • which enhanced group security from attacks by animals and other human groups
  • which led to power concentration in the hands of the few, and serfdom and slavery for the many
  • which led to the need for ever more lebensraum and the wars to acquire it
  • which led to the diseases of civilization rampant in all "developed" nations
especially, but not exclusively, among the poor who depend on inexpensive, starchy industrial foods as their main energy sources.

The article concludes by saying, "But, as one British paper hailed the announcement as the most significant breakthrough in wheat farming for 10,000 years, Evans warned against putting too much faith in genetics, saying that reforming the politics and economics of food distribution was easily as important."

Ah, the politics and economics of food distribution... I wonder if the late, great Leadbelly has a musical point of view on this.

1 comment:

  1. I love how the article claims that wheat is "one of the world's oldest and most important crops." You don't say? How long have we been cultivating crops of wheat? 2.5 million years? A million? How about 10,000 or 6,000?

    If they manage to genetically modify wheat for Round-Up, we're all doomed.