RE: [gardeners] Fwd: Plant Protection/Terminator (Reformatted) (
Wed, 18 Nov 1998 15:02:52 -0500

Liz wrote:

In other words, just because tetracycline turns on the terminator
gene in no way indicates that 1,3,5-triphenylformazan, or some other
chemical, doesn't turn on the terminator gene.  This lock could have
dozens of keys, some of which are naturally occuring substances.  I
don't wonder about the experiments that showed tetracycline turns on
the gene -- I wonder if they bothered to test more than a dozen of
the millions of other chemicals out there to discover if they also
turn on the gene.  After all -- a tomato contains dozens of
chemicals (many of which are toxic).  Lemons and oranges have seeds
that sit in the natural equivalent of an acid vat.  There are
alkaline soils and aquifers in the western US and goodness knows what
conditions in other places on earth, including temperature and
humidity extremes.  So millions of chemicals could come into contact
with terminator seeds under dozens of different conditions and
different pHs for differing periods of time.  Talk about the way to
run a lottery!  I wouldn't really want to bet that the only working
key for terminator technology is tetracycline applied at the seed

Liz, thanks for the deft weilding of Occkam's razor. If you ever decide to
come out of retirement as a chemist, you should take up where Carl Sagan
left off in the publishing bidness.