How long is it reasonable to wait for a reply from a journalist? In an email age, and when an inky wretch has a corporate @ddress, is half a week long enough?

Three days ago I wrote to one such, who had taken up the pen against Terminator technology (new readers, see here and here.) She had said:

"And there's the very thorny issue of cross-pollination of non-GM crops, especially of organic crops."


"Meanwhile, Monsanto has withdrawn a 1999 agreement not to commercialise so-called 'Terminator Technology', GM crops which produce sterile seeds. Potentially this could mean some 1.4bn small farmers in the developing world having to buy their next season's seed from biotechs, rather than 'seed saving' in the traditional way."

I asked:

Isn't there a conflict here? If Terminator Technology stops cross-pollinated seeds from germinating, doesn't it then stop the thorny issue of cross-pollination? I accept that organic farmers might not want GM pollen to have got to their non-GM seeds, but at least they won't have to worry about those seeds germinating and spreading the engineered genes.

Likewise the small farmers in the developing world. They are unlikely to be able to afford to buy GM seeds in the first place. The chances of GM crops being close enough to cross pollinate, especially in more marginal areas, is small, but if the worst happens, at least the farmers would know that any GM-containing seeds would not germinate and hence would not multiply within their harvest.

Or am I missing the point?

Stony silence. So far.

I'm going to leave aside the figure of "1.4 bn small farmers in the developing world," for now.

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