In Brazil, a storm is brewing. Government departments are turning against one another over the issue of whether or not to renege on an international agreement that prohibits the use of so called ‘terminator’ seeds in agriculture. These genetically modified (GM) seeds produce plants whose own seeds will never sprout new life. A ‘terminator’ species lives just one generation.
Why is this desirable in a crop? It guarantees that there can be no contamination of the natural ecosystem by GM genes, since any seeds that are released by the ‘terminator’ crop will never germinate and spread their genetic code. This seems to offer the solution to many people’s concerns about GM. ‘Terminator’ seeds provide a ‘clean’ yield; they will in no way influence naturally existing species.
There is another advantage of the ‘terminator’ seeds, but it is only the firms who produce the seeds who will see the benefits. Because…
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