News of the WeekPlant Biotechnology

Seed-Sterilizing 'Terminator Technology' Sows Discord

Science  30 Oct 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5390, pp. 850-851
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5390.850

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Using a neat trick of genetic engineering, companies can now ensure that genetically modified plants produce sterile seeds--a feat that will keep farmers coming back for fresh seed year after year. Companies say the innovation is needed to safeguard their investments in improved plant varieties, but an array of critics contends that it will further marginalize the world's poorest farmers and erode crop biodiversity.