From terminator to traitor

  • 14/02/2001

In October 1999, Monsanto Corporation announced that it has suspended sales of Terminator seeds. Terminator technology makes seeds sterile so farmers cannot save seeds from one harvest for planting in the next harvest. Thus, farmers have to buy new seeds from the company every year. The purpose was to make sure that the company received a share of all profits that came from the seeds and the genetic changes its scientists had made.

Monsanto's use of the technology had caused great public outcry because of the way it took away farmers' independence. When it started affecting the value of Monsanto's stock, which consistently dropped, Monsanto chief Robert Shapiro publicly committed not to commercialise sterile seed technologies. But he did not rule out "their future development and use for gene protection or their possible agronomic benefits'.

Monsanto is currently working on a new technology, which could make Terminator obsolete. The new

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