Terminator technology

Terminator technology section

Terminator technology is primarily intended to prevent seed being resown and to force farmers to purchase seed each year. As such it clearly has social and economic implications for the millions of poor farmers in developing countries who rely on farm-saved seed for survival. This is one of the most contested applications of GM to crops.

Because of the serious social and economic consequences of Terminator technology, especially on poor farmers, there is an ad hoc international moratorium on its development under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). However, in February 2005, during a meeting of the CBD, a leaked memo revealed that the Canadian government was seeking to reverse this position. Several governments began to attack a report of an advisory group which had concluded that the disadvantages of Terminator far outweighed any potential advantages in terms of gene containment. An earlier position paper by the International Seed Federation, representing the world's largest seed producers who stand to benefit from an end to farm-saved seed, shows that Terminator technology is far from dead in their minds.

In its promotional material, Delta and Pine Land, the company originally behind Terminator, presents its technology as 'enhancing biosafety and biodiversity'. This company and the many others, including Monsanto and Syngenta, developing systems to control the reproduction and use of GM crops for economic reasons, were damaged by the international protest against their plans. Forced to make statements that they would not develop Terminator crops, they now seem to be seeking a more acceptable image for their intentions. To allay the public's fears about contamination they are describing the technology as for 'biological containment'.

GeneWatch UK is a member of the international Ban Terminator campaign.

Recent Articles

  • Say No to Suicide Seeds portable document file (PDF)
    20th November 2006

    Leaflet produced by UK Working Group on Terminator Technology. Gives information on action you can take.

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