There is no knitting content in this post. None. If you're looking for it, wait until later today.
This is about apples. With a side trip into potatos.
No, I'm not kidding. And yes, as a matter of fact, I am drugged. And have a migraine. Nyeah.
Oookay. Quick botany lesson so the rant makes sense: There are two ways for plants to reproduce. Sexually and cloning. (In a nutshell. I'm simplifying this so we aren't here all day.) Sexually means flowers, pollen, and seeds, plus a whole genetically new plant at the end of the process. Cloning means all kinds of things; planting bits of potatos for new potatos, splitting a big plant into smaller plants, growing roots on violet leaf cuttings, or for our purposes, grafting the branches of old apple trees onto new root/stems.
Now. With sexual reproduction, you get genetically new plants, and from that, ADAPTATION. Plants evolve with the bugs that eat them, they develop new defenses as the bugs develop resistance to their old defenses, etc. With cloning, nothing happens. You grow the same damn plant you've always grown, in some cases for a hundred-odd years, while the bugs and other pests evolve and develop a sweet tooth for your ancient plant. (If you watch Stargate, this is what happened to the Asgard. To put it all in a pop culture frame of refrence.)
This results in spraying massive amounts of pesticides, herbicides, and other toxic crap all over acres and acres and hectares of the world, when if we just let the damn things evolve, most of the problems would solve themselves.
Case in point: The Russet Burbank potato. It has been cloned, and cloned, and cloned again, every year, for every crop, and the bugs just ADORE them. It is to the point where it costs more to grow potatos than people will pay for them (leading to the government subsidization of potato growing, but that's a rant for another day). McDonald's and other fast food joints want Russet Burbanks because they're big and make long french-fries, so the world gets Russet Burbanks and to hell with the fact that vast tracts of Idaho are being turned into a sterilized wasteland.
This leads to my comment that if you want to save the environment, screw the snowy owls; quit eating french-fries.
Anyway. Where was I?
Right. Cloning crops and pesticide.
Another crop having major problems, like the potato, is the apple. The 'youngest' strain of apple commonly available these days is the Granny Smith, and it's about a hundred years old, if memory serves. (And it's originally from Australia. Go, Oz!) Apples are another crop that is extremely costly to grow, due to pesticide and herbicide (and fungicide, and bacteriocide and everythingcide) spraying.
So what do the idiot scientists do? Map the apple genome. Do they figure out ways to create new, more viable apple strains? Fuck no!
THEY FIND A WAY TO MAKE APPLES REDDER.