A Vegan quandry...

Back40 at CrumbTrail reports on an interesting development with Genetically Engineered crops -- one that may raise some "issues" with the more Eco-Fascist Vegans... bq. Functional Foods Early efforts concentrated on developing GE cultivars with improved agronomic characteristics such as pest resistance that appealed more to farmers than to consumers; bt cotton and Flavr-Savr tomatoes are examples. More recently the focus has shifted to improving the nutritional value of foods. Back40 links to an article in Nature about a kind of Cress being developed that has higher than usual levels of the polyunsaturated fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6. From the article: bq. The humble cress has never been so wholesome. UK researchers have modified the plant so that it produces health-promoting chemicals that are more commonly found in eggs and fish. bq. The chemicals in question are polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) called omega-3 and omega-6. Both types of molecule help regulate blood pressure, modify the immune response and aid cell signalling. Omega-3 fatty acids are also thought to aid brain development, and help protect adults from heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis. bq. "It's important to get a healthy balance of the two," says Baoxiu Qi from Bristol University in Britain. His team created the new cress strain by adding three genes from algae and mushroom species that produce these PUFAs naturally. Back40 links to an earlier post: bq. The sub text of the article - Will vegetarians keep healthy with transgenic food? - is an idea that surfaces occassionally. See this earlier post, Techno-Vegetarianism about an Easterbrook article in Aventis Corporation's Future Perspectives Magazine that discusses the use of GM to produce more nutritious crop foods and cultured meat substitutes. bq. The development of more nutritious food cultivars is a fine goal whether GE is used or not. Advanced techniques that use genome mapping and tissue culturing to aid and accelerate more conventional breeding techniques seem able to accomplish as much as GE without the ick factor. But it would also be useful to understand how current agronomic practice degrades existing foods. Many of the goals of transgenics for functional foods could be reached by better management. It is a plain and simple nutritional fact that the human body very much needs some items that are not provided by a plant-based diet. Will the Vegan choose to eat GE foods that have been created to provide these nutrients or will they govern their eating habits ideologically and suffer the health concequences... Nonetheless, this technology will be a royal boon to those cultures who eat a plant based diet because of economic misfortune and governmental corruption and who do not suffer the luxury of making ideological choices.

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on May 17, 2004 4:41 PM.

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