“Terminator” plants cannot spread and sterilize
I appreciated the sober reporting in the Aug. 3 story, “Group questions genetically altered food.” I was at the Organic Consumers Association meeting described, and part of the lively debate that ensued. Innman’s report gave good, balanced coverage, but I have one correction and one essential point that need to be made.
Correction: Petra Frey is accidentally purported to have worked for a company, “Englepotrykus.” There is no such company, rather she worked in the laboratory of Dr. Ingo Potrykus, in a public sector research institution where ‘Golden Rice’ was developed.
Point: Much (but not all) of the concern over agricultural biotechnology is rooted in misunderstanding and illogic. A quote from the story exemplifies this, “They are concerned that pollen from the (terminator) crop could drift... until all plants become sterile.”
So-called ‘terminator’ technology makes the engineered plant sterile. This means that it is incapable of pollenating anything successfully. The ‘terminator’ technology has a scary name given to it by a RAFI (Rural Advancement Foundation International) activist.
However, by definition it prevents the spread of genes to other plants. This makes it not only impossible for other plant populations to become sterilized, but would prevent the so-called ‘genetic pollution’ that concerns are voiced about.
Writer needs to know history
Reviewing John Fisher’s new comedy “Cleopatra: the Musical,” John Angell Grant writes that Caesar and Cleopatra “have a son named Caesarion. That is the level of the play’s humor.”
Excuse me, but Caesar and Cleopatra did have a son named Caesarion.
You may not like Fisher’s sense of humor, but you can’t fault his knowledge of history.