RE: Glowing Grass

From: altamira (
Date: Mon Jul 10 2000 - 13:43:58 MDT

> -----Original Message-----
> From:

> Note also that it helps to be aware of the real hazards of
> industrialization of GM technology.

The "terminator" gene was one of the most hostile moves I've EVER seen one
group of humans try to make against another. There is no reason to believe
that the gene would not have been passed to other members of the same and
closely related species. Maize (called "corn" in the US), for example,
pollinates other maize, as well as closely related wild species such as
teosinte up to distances of two miles. The teosinte can then cross pollinate
other corn.

Farmers who typically save their own seed and whose crops had been
contaminated with the terminator gene would not be aware of the damage until
the following year when they planted seed they'd saved and a large per
centage of the seed did not germinate. You might argue (and I HAVE seen
unthinking people make this very argument) that no contaminated lines of
corn could be established since the seed would be infertile. This is true,
but it would be of little comfort to the farmer who gets only 1/3 of her
usual yield (and no doubt a certain per centage of this seed would also be
contaiminated from cross pollination from fields of corn carrying the
terminator gene). Corn is quite vulnerable to inbreeding depression, and in
order to maintain a healthy line of corn one must take seed from at least
200 ears. Small farmers growing maybe only an acre of corn would have to
save many more ears than usual and would have to pre-germinate the seed
before planting in order not to take up space in the field with infertile

The net effect would be that many farmers operating within cross-pollination
distance of fields of terminator gene corn would be forced to purchase their
seed. Unfortunately, for many small susistence farmers this would mean the
end of farming.

When I see a person or group of people doing something viciously cruel, I
tend not to trust them, nor do I want to deal with them in any way. This is
the way I feel about Monsanto and the USDA.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Oct 02 2000 - 17:34:20 MDT