RE: [gardeners] "Terminator" gene

Liz Albrook (
Tue, 17 Nov 1998 09:36:54 +0000

On 17 Nov 98 at 10:42, wrote:

> I agree with Lucinda's call for a chemist who can help sort this
> out. I am ignorant.

You mean you want a bacteriologist to comment -- they actually know 
something on the topic.  My understanding of immunity and the 
exchange of immunities among bacteria is a bit better than 
average but still very crude.  I know enough to take a full course of 
antibiotics when prescribed so as to not help create superbacteria, 
to not ask for or take antibiotics for viral infections for the same 
reason and to avoid people who take daily doses of antibiotics 
because they are apt to harbor superbacteria that are harmless to 
them and deadly to others. 

I worked for several years with a person who fell into the last
category.  In 1988 or so, when discoveries concerning the exchange
of immunities between unrelated bacteria were made, he and thousands
of other people were taken off of those daily doses of antibiotics
because of the extreme threat they posed to other people.  

I am uncertain as to the levels of active antibiotics found in meats. 
Just because a steer was dosed with high levels of a given antibiotic 
does not to me indicate that the flesh of that animal, killed 24 
hours or more after innoculation, contains enough antibiotic to 
warrant concern.  This is an area in which I have found there to 
be quite a bit of over-the-counter scare-tactics type of information 
without having seen much mainstream science.  Though ignorant, I am 
somewhat bouyed by the fact that I don't know many bacteriologists 
that are vegetarians.

I also can say that I know just enough about genetic exchanges 
between plants to be very uncomfortable with the idea of "terminator 
technology".  There may be nothing at all wrong with it but my 
limited understanding of the whole process tells me this is a genie 
that shouldn't be released from the bottle.

Perhaps there's a roving botanist who could comment on the likelihood 
of introduction of genetically-based sterility into the environment 
if "TT" seeds are planted.  

who's back with a reasonably healthy computer