14 May 1999
Monsanto pledge on terminator gene

by FWi staff

BIOTECHNOLOGY giant Monsanto has pledged to delay the introduction of terminator gene technology until it has investigated the possible effects of doing so.

Terminator genes introduced to plants render the seed sterile to prevent farmers saving seed for the following year.

The prospect has caused particular concern among farmers and charities in the Third World, where most producers rely on farm-saved seed.

According to an article in the St Louis Post a newspaper based in Monsantos base in the US a statement from Monsanto said:

We believe that the concerns about gene protection technologies should be heard and carefully considered before any decisions are made to commercialise them.

The article quoted Philip Angell, Monsantos director of communications as saying:

The reaction to terminator in a lot of different quarters in many countries was clearly becoming the dominant discussion about biotechnology.

Mr Angell said Monsanto had consulted eminent scientists before pledging to examine the environmental, economic and social effects of the terminator process.

We need some level of public acceptance to do our business, he acknowledged.