What’s the Matter with Fruity Sex?

There are many ways to read gene sequences, but only one way to store them. It entails giving them away. Here, for example, is a functioning spontaneous gene bank:

Plums Gone Wild in an Abandoned Orchard Okanagan Landing

When apple trees tried to go wild in this way, they were cut down in every orchard, field and ditch, so that they didn’t interfere with a 1990s-era government-funded insect control program. No one thought to archive their genetic material. Many physical windows into the area’s fruit growing past were closed down that way. It was like burning down a library.

The exciting thing about this method of genetic manipulation is that it is done by sexual reproduction, which is a living process. Its results create changes in living organisms over time. It is always  putting out something new, so if you don’t like what you see, come back later: an entirely different plum will be there. You can taste that, and compare. You can develop a memory of taste over time — you can remember time by taste, even. All our original agriculture crops came to us by this method. It is still ongoing. One thing this gene bank has over genetic modification in laboratory settings is that in the evenings it provides shelter for deer, who lie down here above the road while the dark settles over the world. The laboratory schtick just gives double talk like this: the Arctic Apple. If those GMO fruits get introduced, the sexual reproduction of all apples will be damaged beyond repair, and a large chunk of what has made us human will go with it. So, I guess I’m asking: what’s the matter with sex? Anyone got an idea on that? Henry David Thoreau did. In 1862, he said that when all apple trees were grafted and planted in rows, democracy would be dead. These aren’t discussions about markets, industries, storage facilities, shipping facilities, or markets. These are discussions about soul.

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