Terminator Corporations' Suicide Seeds
..."corporations and their lackeys in the Canadian bureaucracy crave complete control of the seed and thus food and feed production."...
Translation: A goal for very high prices for food that is unfit to eat to boot*....
"There was a resounding negative response. For the time being corporations publicly moved back from the project. But behind the scenes academic, corporate and government laboratories connived to produce terminators with new and more potent capability. It seems clear that copious government funding is being squandered to promote the interests of rich corporations against the expressed will of the majority of people. The manner in which academe willingly and unquestioningly promotes research which acts against the rights of individual farmers should be brought to the attention of the public. The people must find a way to insure that that their governments act in their interests, not the interests of corporations. As we proposed four years ago Terminators must be terminated!"
This is a most important talk and clearly demonstrates how effectively the corporations have usurped our governments and hence our taxes. It clearly demonstrates how we are so easily manipulated. Pressure from the people only provides a temporary relief, and that only happens if they find out about the shenanigans taking place behind their backs in the first place. Then after a cool off period when most are thinking that the disaster has been prevented they they try again and it by chance fail again they simply wait and try again and so on. Monsanto is now, not surprisingly, breaking it's promise to create terminator seeds (which do not produce a 2nd crop and force farmers to purchase new seeds every year) again. Organic Consumers 2006 Feb 22
*Forget any thought of local, sustainable organic farmer's markets, and cow sharing for raw dairy. Forget about listing all the ingredients on the label. Forget about producing foods that are free of MSG, GM foreign DNA and rogue proteins, modified corn starch, preservatives, dyes and aspartame. We can forget about Community Shared Agriculture. We can forget about raw live cultured foods like BioLacto sauerkraut from Quebec. Everything will come from the perchlorate-and-fertilizer-soaked and nutrient-depleted soils of the American southwest, irrigated with industrial waste fluoridated water and depleted uranium dust, and be genetically engineered and ultra high temperature pasteurized or irradiated, and NAFTA rules will probably be used to make Canadian food suppliers buy it preferentially.
Oh, wait, we already have that now.
Canada has become the world's leader in doing the wrong thing in the area of genetically modified (GM) food and feed. For example, Canada is the largest exporter of canola in the World. The Canadian government has promoted distribution and sale of GM canola and has encouraged open field testing of canola modified with pharmaceuticals such as the anticoagulant hirudin. There has been little effort to limit pollution of non-GM canola, and there is clear evidence that the canola of western Canada is extensively polluted with transgenes from GM crops . The Canadian government has, in a sense, provided a welcome to GM pollution in order to promote the growth and distribution of GM crops. Nevertheless, corporations and their lackeys in the Canadian bureaucracy crave complete control of the seed and thus food and feed production. The government set up the Seed Sector Review advisory committee , which issued a report calling for changes to legislation to (a) collect royalties on farm-saved seeds, (b) compel farmers to buy officially certified seed, and (c) terminate the right of farmers to sell common seed.
The report was financed by the Agriculture Ministry at a cost of nearly a million dollars to the Canadian taxpayers that essentially rubber-stamped the demands of multinational agricultural corporations . In this way, the onerous licensing requirements of the biotechnology industry are to be extended to all seeds, imposing a form of serfdom on any remaining independent farmers.
The development of "terminator" technology goes hand in hand with the corporate move to control use and production of seeds. Terminator technology is the use of genetic modification to produce seed that produce a crop with seed that is infertile (produces seeds that commit suicide when planted). In other words, terminator blocks viable seed production, production of pollen or ovule or production of flowers. The corporate gains complete control over production of seeds needed to produce food and feed.
The first terminators were developed by the United Sates Department of Agriculture (USDA) and corporate interests, and that technology was patented jointly by the corporation and USDA. As in Canada, the regulator of GM crops also acts as an advocate and commercial developer of such crops (a clear conflict of interest). The first terminator patent was granted to USDA and The Delta and Pineland Corporation (later joined to Monsanto Corporation) in 1999. That patent provoked a flurry of opposition both on the basis of the fundamental right of farmers to save seed, and on the scientific ground that the genetic changes might harm those consuming the crops. In response to those concerns, Monsanto Corporation backed off from immediate production of terminator seeds. But in spite of that action a great deal of government sponsored research In US has focused on development of terminator technology to provide financial benefits for corporations. The government research granting agencies have been lavishly providing taxpayer funds to prestigious universities to develop new and more effective means of producing terminator crops that primarily benefit corporations and reduce independent farmers to serfdom.
Beginning in 1999, The Institute of Science in Society in London, England has distributed a number of reports by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho and myself. In those reports we described the genetic technology of the original and later biotechnology inventions [3-7]. The basic design of the constructions has been to prevent reproductive tissue from developing in a way that allows the seed-producer to maintain fertile lines in order to produce commercial seeds that fails to produce pollen, or produce seeds that will not germinate. The genes used to produce such lines usually involve aborting reproductive cells with cell-suicide genes producing toxins such as barnase, a ribonuclease that digests cellular RNA, diptheria toxin or excess phytohormone production in the reproductive tissue. In some cases, anti-sense genes have been used to block reproductive cells from maturing. Anti-sense genes are complementary copies of the RNA gene messages governing reproductive cell maturation forming double stranded RNA that is recognized as an invading virus by the plant cell and destroyed.
During the 1990s, a startling new discovery in plant molecular genetics led to the identification of homeotic genes that govern the pathways leading to cell differentiation. These proteins recognize short stretches of DNA called MADS-boxes, regions controlling transcription of the genes involved in formation of reproductive tissue, leaves, roots branches, etc. that govern plant development . That discovery has led to a flood of inventions employing the MADS-boxes transcription factors to control flowering and gamete production as terminators in trees and in crops. Steven Strauss of the US Forest Service in Oregon has been field-testing poplar trees modified with cell suicide genes to eliminate flowering and plans to extend that system to shade trees. Finish researchers at Sopanen University are developing sterile silver birch . Along with the cell suicide toxins and their impact on animal life, the sterile trees must be propagated asexually and thus lack genetic diversity rendering them sensitive to attack by emerging pathogens and without a reservoir of diversity to mitigate the attack of the novel pathogen. A flood of patent applications has begun to appear for control of flowering or sexual development in both evergreen trees and crop plants .
I have described an armamentarium of evolving ways to produce terminator trees and crops. The current array of genetic tools has been added to a large array of genetic tools for sterilizing or castrating crops and trees to protect corporate control and profits. When the first proposals to develop terminator plants were put forward, response from independent farmers and the public was strong and vocal. There was a resounding negative response. For the time being corporations publicly moved back from the project. But behind the scenes academic, corporate and government laboratories connived to produce terminators with new and more potent capability. It seems clear that copious government funding is being squandered to promote the interests of rich corporations against the expressed will of the majority of people. The manner in which academe willingly and unquestioningly promotes research which acts against the rights of individual farmers should be brought to the attention of the public. The people must find a way to insure that that their governments act in their interests, not the interests of corporations. As we proposed four years ago Terminators must be terminated!
Cummins J. Transgenic contamination of seed certified seed stock Science in Society 2003, 19, 48. http://www.i-sis.org.uk/isisnews.php
Agriculture andAgri-Food Canada The report of the seed sector advisory committee 2004 www.seedsectorreview.com
Ho MW and Cummins J. Chronicle of an Ecological Disaster Foretold . ISIS Report, 20 February 2003 ; also Science in Society 2003, Spring, 18 , 26-27.
Ho MW. Terminator technologies in new guises. ISIS News 3 , December 1999, ISSN: 1474-1547 (print), ISSN: 1474-1814 (online)
Cummins J. Terminator gene product alert. ISIS News 6 , September 2000, ISSN: 1474-1547 (print), ISSN: 1474-1814 (online)
Ho MW, Cummins J and Bartlett J. Killing fields near you. Terminator crops at large. ISIS News 7/8 , February 2001, ISSN: 1474-1547 (print), ISSN: 1474-1814 (online)
Ho MW and Cummins J. Terminator patents decoded. ISIS News 11/12 , October 2001, ISSN: 1474-1547 (print), ISSN: 1474-1814 (online)
Cummins J and Ho MW. New terminator crops coming Science in Society 2003, 19, 48. http://www.i-sis.org.uk/isisnews.php
Cummins J. View from MADS house. Science in Society 2005, 26, 22. http://www.i-sis.org.uk/isisnews.php
Cummins J and Ho MW. Terminator Trees Science in Society 2005, 26, 16-18. http://www.i-sis.org.uk/isisnews.php
Cummins J. Lurking terminators 2005 in preparation
Lecture presented at "Sustainable World International Conference", 14-15 July 2005, London and at "An Evening of Wine and Seeds", February 23, 2006.
posted by Chris Gupta on Monday February 27 2006
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