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Links With Your Coffee - Saturday

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Behavioral economist Dan Ariely has been looking into how the word "natural" affects how people buy things like medicine. In short, he tells host Robert Siegel, natural sells.

Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

In my last post, Co-existence isn't easy, I discussed some ways that a conventional farmer might accidentally make life difficult for an organic farmer. Some people might not believe it, but gene flow aka "contamination" can happen regardless of organic status. Organic plants could even screw up genetically engineered plants if pollen goes where it isn't intended.

One example is in plants that are genetically engineered to silence an unwanted protein. Peanuts or wheat could be (and have been - peanuts, wheat - though they are not yet on the market) engineered to eliminate allergenic proteins from those crops. Any genetic contamination from "regular" peanuts or wheat could be very problematic because it would re-introduce those allergenic proteins. Someone prone to hyperbole might even call those genes "malicious" because they would be turning an otherwise safe food into a dangerous food for those who are allergic.



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