11 April 2000
Monsanto’s ‘ethical challenge’ to rivals

MONSANTOS decision to share its “working draft” of the genetic structure of rice is the subject of a special Inside Track feature in the FinancialTimes.

The paper says there are many reasons behind what it describes as a ground-breaking decision announced recently by the company in China.

“The answer lies in the unique role rice plays in the prosperity of nations, Monsantos recent troubled corporate history, and growing public concern about who gets to own crucial genetic information,” says the paper.

The decision to share the rice genome presents other biotechnology companies with an ethical challenge, and has gone some way to repair Monsantos image.

Experts believe that Monsantos contribution will shave up to five years off the time taken to decode the entire rice genome, the FT reports.

The rice genome will also aid the decoding of genomes for other staple crops, such as those consumed in the Third World, the paper adds.