Joanna Blythman

Lordy be, painfully naive eco-wibble.

Clones are bad because, well, industrial farming is bad. Industrial farming might well be bad but that\’s got bugger all to do with whether cloning is bad or good.

There is only one valid point that she manages to make:

Both the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) accept that cloned animals suffer from more infections than conventionally bred livestock.

But she doesn\’t make enough of it. As Matt Ridley went to great lengths to point out in Red Queen, the point of sexual reproduction is the mixing of genes and thus the possibility (but not certainty) of managing to keep a step ahead of the parasites and pathogens that afflict us.

A population of clones is of course susceptible to one such parasite or pathogen which will sweep through the entire population. That\’s actually a legitimate concern about cloning, that it reduces the ability to beat the ever evolving parasites and diseases.

As we can see when we study bananas. The Gros Michel varietal was largely replaced in the 50s by the Cavendish, as Panama Disease took hold. For, you see, bananas are clones. All genetically, within a varietal, exactly the same.

Which leads us to an interesting thought. Are the British really upset by eating clones? Given that the banana is the nation\’s favourite fruit (even though is an herb) it would appear not.

3 thoughts on “Joanna Blythman”

  1. “Are the British really upset by eating clones? Given that the banana is the nation’s favourite fruit (even though is an herb)…”

    That’s one of those bizarre facts (like glass being technically a liquid) that makes me enjoy quiz nights so much.

  2. Surely only a herbert (or, understandably, a Yank) writes “an herb”? It should join “an hotel” and “an historian” in the jeered-into-the-bin list of preposterous affectations.

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