June 20, 1999

It's 'The Real Thing' in Paraguay

The folks that brought you Terminator are now dumping Originator toxic seeds on farmers' fields.

As delegates to the Biodiversity Convention's scientific body (SBSTTA) convene in Montreal to contemplate a harsh new critique of Terminator Technology and their frustrated efforts to achieve a biosafety protocol, Terminator's many inventors are tripping over themselves sowing confusion and dumping mystery seeds 'dressed to kill'.

When the Biodiversity Convention's call last year for an investigation of Terminator Technology was followed by a repudiation of the Terminator by the world's largest public sector plant breeding network (CGIAR), the technology's numerous inventors began to back peddle. After all, commercial introduction of the seed sterilization technique was at least three years off. If governments and civil society critics could be pacified now, there would be time to position an effective lobby and PR strategy that would keep the Terminator 'on course' as the platform for all GMO plant breeding in the future.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, co-inventor of the original Terminator with Delta and Pine Land Co., for example, stated in a May 14 letter to the Biodiversity Convention that it would not use the technology to sterilize seeds. The U.S. said specifically that it would only explore the technology in areas ...unrelated to seed germination". This statement was in keeping with a USDA-RAFI meeting in February this year when the government acknowledged that they were besieged by public protest over USDA involvement with the unsavory technology. However, RAFI has uncovered a new USDA-Purdue University patent on Terminator technology issued on March 11th of this year. The new patent explicitly includes seed sterilization among its uses.


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