News of the WeekBiotechnology

USDA to Commercialize 'Terminator' Technology

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Science  04 Aug 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5480, pp. 709-710
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5480.709b

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A diverse group of opponents of a controversial biotech discovery that can render seeds sterile, including some scientific groups and companies, have disavowed this so-called "terminator" technology as an unconscionable threat to poor farmers. But last week officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced they will move ahead with the technology because of its scientific promise--albeit with conditions negotiated with its industry partner to guard against it being used in harmful ways. Antibiotech activists adamantly oppose the decision, which runs counter to the intentions even of biotech giant Monsanto.