21 January 2014

Let's protect coffee plantations from transgenic beetles!

Coffee lovers, opponents of transgenics

Sergey Belkov, "Trinity Variant" No. 1-2014

One of the arguments against gene modification as a more effective and safe method of breeding organisms in comparison with traditional breeding is its "unnaturality". For some reason, it is considered and actively supported by various "green", "consumer protection societies", "organic farming unions", that this is exactly one of the main dangers of this technology.

Even those who admit that breeding is imperfect and too slow, do not get tired of declaring that it is natural. It is the very embodiment of evolution, the creation of mutations and the selection of the right traits. It has been tested for billions of years. And the transplantation of genes from foreign organisms? It is still unknown what kind of infertility it will hit our descendants and how it will affect the biosphere.

Let's put aside the fact that any construction combining the concepts of "natural" and "harmless" is by definition a logical error and evidence of a lack of critical thinking. Let's focus on something else.

The transplantation of genes from other organisms, the so-called horizontal transfer, is the same natural and natural process underlying the evolution of life on Earth as the traditional inheritance from dad and mom. Every year there is more and more evidence of this. Horizontal transfer is not only the exchange of plasmids among bacteria for a long time. These are not only viruses that make up a significant part of the genome of modern Homo. DNA analysis of fungi indicates the importance and prevalence of this mechanism of evolution [1].

The parasite plant rafflesia in general was able to steal so many genes from its hosts that even finding out its evolutionary history along the "vertical" line was not an easy task against the background of "alien" DNA [2]. The more we learn about the molecular foundations of life, the more we encounter examples of such unconventional acquisition of new traits.

Coffee trees in the course of evolution have learned to reliably protect themselves from those who want to eat them. They protected themselves from bacteria and fungi with the help of toxic substances for them, which people called antioxidants and sell for crazy money as means of recovery and weight loss to fans of natural. The plant was protected from insects by a very effective insecticide called "caffeine". But one of the main elements of protection was not even toxicity, but simply inedibility of coffee.

The plant stores carbohydrates in the form of galactomannans, useless for most living beings on the planet, which make up about 50% of all carbohydrates [3]. Anyone who wants to have a snack with coffee beans really risks losing weight – the calorie content from them is about zero. Such a multi-stage defense for a long time provided the plant with a serious advantage in the evolutionary race against enemies.

In general, natural coffee is not liked even by a person known for his habit of eating what others do not eat. Yes, I don't like it. We don't drink coffee in its natural form! We are frying this infernal mixture of antibiotics, fungicides, insecticides, inedible polysaccharides in the flame. We season it with a mixture of carcinogens formed during roasting. We add artificial flavor there for the taste. And do not build illusions that the aroma of coffee is natural. Never appeared. Substances that are formed during the roasting of grains are the result of an artificial chemical reaction carried out in artificial, unnatural conditions, and many of them are not found anywhere in the wild.

No, people usually don't use natural green coffee. What can not be said about the coffee beetle driller. He managed to learn to eat what others don't eat. Because he is transgenic [4].

One day his ancestors got confused with a bacterium that rewarded them not with infertility, but with an alien gene. The gene that produces the enzyme mannanase gave the beetle the ability to extract calories from inedible coffee polysaccharides – a unique ability among beetles. And at the same time I put it in the directory of the most dangerous enemies of agriculture. And what?! The beetle is comfortable! There is no need to look for food – the "humans" themselves grow it on a huge scale. Conquering new territories is also not a problem – in just fifty years, people have taken the bug all over the planet and are now unsuccessfully spending millions in American money to fight it.

Dear opponents of GMOs, especially those of them who are ideological and love natural coffee! Stop shaking the air with empty statements and come up with virtual troubles from gene transplantation. I hope you seriously wish the good of people? There is a real problem that we can't handle without you: the transgenic coffee driller beetle. Please help! Go to the coffee plantations and help!

Stop saving the planet from transgenic salmon, wheat, rice and corn. There is no need to save us from food, there is not enough for everyone. Get rid of transgenic bugs, we have too many of them. It is because of them that coffee becomes more expensive, while they themselves do not starve, eating coffee for about half a billion dollars a year for free. Sometimes leading to ruin, and maybe to suicide of local farmers. It is because of the beetles that we have to drink cheap robusta, while they themselves, as if having seen enough of "control purchases", prefer Arabica. Lip is not a fool!

You have principles, don't you? You can, I know! And at the same time, we will be calmer without you somehow.

  1. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22112233http://elementy.ru/news/430491
  2. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1677-04202006000100012
  3. www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/02/17/1121190109.abstract
  4. Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru


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