*This webpage was created as part of an assignment for a course at Davidson College.

The Controversy of "Terminator Technology"

Image of Seeds, 2004 (Permission Pending)

http://www.monsanto-ag.co.uk/layout/crop_pro/ seeds picture

What are "terminator seeds"? How it works Advantages & Disadvantages of Seeds Future of "Termination Technology" References

What are “Terminator Seeds”?

Since the development of improved varieties of crops through genetic modification, multinational agricultural companies have been pursuing the development of methods to protect their investment. On March 3, 1998 , the Delta & Pine Land Company (now under the control of Monsanto) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) were issued patent number 5,723,765 from the United States Patent Office titled the Control of Plant Gene Expression (Service, 1998). This technique, referred to as the “technology protection system” by agricultural companies and “terminator technology” by its opponents, prevents germination to occur in seeds harvested from genetically modified crops. The primary purpose of this technology is to prevent farmers who use these types of crops from being able to replant the harvested seeds. As a result, these farmers must buy new seeds from the biotechnology companies each year (Gupta, 1998).

The development of termination technology has created much controversy within the field of agriculture. Advocates of the technique defend the right of agricultural companies to protect the millions of dollars invested into the research and development of improved crop varieties. Critics of the seeds argue that the technology will harm poor farmers and the environment. Although the seeds have not been commercialized yet, they have already stirred up much controversy (Seigel, 1999).

This web page will discuss the:

•  Mechanisms used in termination technology

•  Arguments in favor of and in opposition to the use of “terminator seeds”

•  Future of “terminator seeds”

Genetically Modified Organisms Homepage

Davidson College Homepage

This web page was created by Helen Nguyen

February 12, 2004

To contact me, email henguyen@davidson.edu