Chapter

Crops and Weeds

C. Neal Stewart

in Genetically Modified Planet

Published in print September 2004 | ISBN: 9780195157451
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780199790388 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195157451.003.0002
 Crops and Weeds

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There is a trend towards embracing nature and the acceptance of natural products, even though humans have altered virtually everything. A case in point is food and food crops. No natural human food exists except wild game and a few undomesticated plants. There has never been natural corn or wheat, and many vegetable crops such as carrots and Brussel sprouts are recent inventions of crop domestication. Transgenic crops seem transformative since they possess one or two genes from a different species. The process of gene introduction takes place in the lab using biotechnology, but traditional breeding and domestication drastically alter genomes of plants relative to biotechnology, since hundreds to thousands of genes are manipulated in hybridization. Like those of crops, genomes of weeds are also selected and adapted for growth in farmer’s fields. Human and natural selection are powerful forces.

Keywords: biotechnology; breeding; crop domestication; genomes; natural selection; nature; weeds

Chapter.  3819 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biotechnology

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