Archive for September, 2009.
Posted on September 23, 2009
Terminator Technology or Suicide Seeds
There is a concern that plants could cross-pollinate with non-genetically modified plants, either in the wild or on the fields of farmers who do not adopt the technology. Though the V-GURT plants are supposed to produce sterile seeds, there is concern that this trait will not be expressed in the first generation of a small percentage of these plants, but be expressed in later generations. This does not seem to be much of a problem in the wild, as a sterile plant would naturally be selected out of a population within one generation of trait expression.
As with all genetically modified crops, the food safety of GURT technology would need to be assessed if a commercial release of a GURT containing crop were proposed.
Initially developed by the US Department of Agriculture and multinational seed companies, “suicide seeds” have not been commercialized anywhere in the world due to an avalanche of opposition from farmers, indigenous peoples, civil society, and some governments. In 2000, the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity recommended a de facto moratorium on field-testing and commercial sale of Terminator seeds; the moratorium was re-affirmed in 2006. India and Brazil have already passed national laws to prohibit the technology.