RE: [gardeners] "Terminator" gene

Margaret Lauterbach (
Tue, 17 Nov 1998 08:45:44 -0700

At 10:42 AM 11/17/98 -0500, you wrote:
>Margaret wrote:
>Catharine, I think tetracycline is an antibiotic sometimes prescribed for
>humans.  Over exposure to it may result in its no longer being effective
>against bacterial infection, and super strains of bacteria may result.  I
>think, at least, that's one of the objections.  Another is that some people
>are violently allergic to it.  Your post touched on most of the concerns
>this technology has caused without characterizing the terminology as
>vicious and cruel.  I would have so characterized it.
>I know tetracycline is an antibiotic; it's one of the few to which I am not
>allergic. My curiosity was with the assumed detrimental effects of exposure
>to tetracycline residue in *seeds*. The amount of tetracycline would be very
>small (I assume...and that may be where I am off-base), and I am wondering
>how people can be worried about that level of exposure and NOT worried about
>exposure from eating animal products (milk, meat, eggs, etc.) derived from
>animals who have been routinely pumped full of antibiotics from birth.
>I agree with Lucinda's call for a chemist who can help sort this out. I am
Ignorant, you're not.  It is my understanding that once they fiddle with
the genes of the plants in question, the sterility of the second generation
seeds is on hold until the trigger, tetracycline, is used.  It sounds to me
as if it will be sprayed over fields to activate the sterility.  Moreover,
the genetically altered plant may produce viable seeds for generations
until the trigger is fired.  If they're going to spray tetracycline over
fields, you're going to get more than a tiny amount, IMO.  Margaret