Monday, 12 April 2010

All in the Family, but Modified

This is a horse

and this is a donkey

Both are of the same genetic family but of a DIFFERENT SPECIES. 

(I shall not get into the chimp-human family debate but here it suggests that genetically humans and chimps share 99.4 percent identity)

 Anyway, when a male donkey is cross-bred with a female horse, the product is:

What's interesting is that mules are sterile. They CANNOT produce any off-spring.

And apparently, this is most often (but not always) the case for creatures that are produced from cross-breeding between species.

Though geneticists go cross-eyed  arguing as to the actual scientific reason,   a layman like me naturally concludes that it's what we get when we tamper with nature, when humans merrily experiment with genes and modify them for whatsoever reason.

I mean, would a female horse NATURALLY WANT to mate with a donkey? She could easily out-run him anytime and anywhere, that's one thing. And stallions look a thousand times better, too.

And how about plants?

 This is a guava, with seeds

and these are SEEDLESS guavas

A normal guava looks nice and symmetrical but the seedless variety are grossly gnarled and misshapened, their segments unevenly sized.

The seedless one is what I had the pleasure of partaking recently though, and painfully paid the price early the next morning.

Fruits are designed to contain seeds for the purpose of propogating their species.

When a fruit has no seeds, it is barren, infertile - like the mule.

And I naturally suspect the human hand being the cause - by genetically modifying the original seeded one.

They say the Thais have got it down pat, producing seedless varieties of durians, the guava above, rambutans etc. through genetical modifications (GM) ie through either inserting or deleting genes.

What I can decipher from Wiki are that there are a number of ways to do this.

You can artificially transfer genes between organisms that can be conventionally bred, I'm assuming within the same species. 

Or you can insert genes from a different species by attaching them to a transporter virus. They say using a very fine syringe or  a gene gun (nice) may also work in transferring DNA material. 

And they are also talking about transferring genes between plants and animals! 

However GM foods are not without controversies. 

"Supporters point to wonderful possibilities of nutrient-packed food and solving world hunger, while critics fear unknown effects on human health. But whatever one’s opinion the matter, one thing is clear: some genetically modified fruits and vegetables are awfully intriguing!"

Here's one example:

A Lemato

"Okay, so a lemon and a tomato aren’t the most natural of pairs, but that didn’t stop Israeli researchers from bringing us the Lemato! Unlike other genetically altered fruits and veggies (which were created primarily for health reasons), it appears that the lemato was solely an experiment to determine if it was possible to make tomatos give off the scent of lemons". 

OK, on the one hand they are saying the GM fruits are created "for health reasons" but on the other they fear "unknown effects on human health"!

But I know what effect the seedless guava had on me. My wonderful tummy rejected it, even though the humble guava does have many naturopathic benefits.

Taken unedited from
"Though guava is cheaper, it contains lot of nutrients as well as good medicinal value.  Guava is the best remedy for constipation problems. Seedless guava has the ability to strengthen heart muscles. If you get hiccup troubles frequently, eat guava which will stop hiccup immediately. Guava has a copious amount of vitamin C and little amount of vitamin A, B. One ounce of guava consists of fat-1gm, protein-1gm, calcium-3mg, carbohydrate-4.1gm and iron-0.3gm. Young guava fruit quits dysentery. To reduce tooth pain, chew guava leaves well and do mouthwash. Consuming tender leaves in empty stomach will increase the hunger and strengthen the intestine. Don’t remove the skin of guava because skinless guava may cause indigestion problems."

What? DO NOT REMOVE THE SKIN OF GUAVA because skinless guava may cause INDIGESTION PROBLEMS?

That was exactly what I did! I removed the skin!

So it wasn't because of it being GENETICALLY-MODIFIED after all.

Or it might still be, who knows...

 Still, it will be a long while before I try Seedless Guavas  again.


Tommy Yewfigure said...

Hey Zen, but mixed race children are simple gorgeous. I especially adore Eurasians.

BTW, what’s the story with Zebra? God must be crazy, spur of the moment creation to brighten up the world maybe.


P/S – Thanks, I can now blame my recently acquired behaviour to GM food, can or not.

Seedless durians???, duh, defeats the whole purpose & fun of licking & sucking the seed mah, kayu punya oghang.

Zendra-Maria said...

Yes Tommy aren't they gorgeous? I especially adore Jawastan/Bugistan/Chinese/Indian mixes hehe.

Agree about the classic zebra design - but some humans are messing with them to produce zorses and zonkeys. Absolute blasphemy! No wonder these hybrids are very temperamental creatures.

Ought to be careful with GM foods lah - especially if you still planning on having more kids, I'd say.

Yeah I prefer things with seeds :)

Cat-in-Sydney said...

Aunty Zendra,
Hmmmm...two stories about "perut sakit" in a row? Oh, I was told that we should eat less tempeh now as it's made of GM soybeans. I tell you, it's a conspiracy againtst Jawastan. purrr...meow!

Zendra-Maria said...

OH NO Cat, tempeh is from GM soya beans? No wonder they don't smell putrid anymore!

But I need and want the phyto-estrogens to modify myself. So how? Close one eye like your friend Garfield lah...

NanaDJ said...

Very interesting, Zen. Have many mixed race cousins, nephews and nieces in the family. Yes, they are definitely superior in the looks department.
I tend to be wary of all the cross breed animals, fruits and plants. Have yet to taste daging selembu!!!(seladang and lembu)

Zendra-Maria said...

NanaDJ, why do they cross the seladang and the lembu I wonder? They want to make the lembu less docile or the seladang's horns not so long hahaha! Beef tastes very nice already why do they want to cheat us by selling mutant daging selembu?

Capt's Longhouse said...


,,,there was an experiment to cross breed a pig and human to produce spare parts for the body and apparently it can work !. Hope that they are not thinking about the meat as 'pigtome' burger for KFC. hehehe !!
,,,guess it was a secret success in Putrajaya, Malaysia. We have one specie very well known as mdm piggy, with her modified face plus everything !. No kidding, kalau tak percaya, ask mr. Najis about it ?.
,,,sorry Tommy, i think i woke up on the wrong side of the bed today.

Zendra-Maria said...

Capt are you sure you're not at dr rafick's?