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Genetically modified crops - February issue

sw swroot at NO.UBE.amitiel.demon.co.uk
Sat Feb 6 10:09:16 EST 1999


Roger Whitehead <rgw at office-futures.com> wrote:

> 
> There seem to be two issues here:
> 
> The first is this notion of plant breeders' rights. If I raise some tomatoes
> from seeds bought from, let's say, Suttons and then raise further generations
> from the seeds of those plants, would you say I'm stealing from Suttons?

Given current research directions those seeds might not even germinate,
thus protecting you from yourself.

It's Sutton's opinion that counts and they might if the legislation
allowed them to. That's part of the problem with development of new
crops for third-world countries. CompanyA acquires seeds/whatever of
traditional crops, develops drought resistance or herbicide resistant
varieties, then sells the seeds back to the growers. They traditionally
(like most people) save some seed to plant next year - and find CompanyA
is suing. Or worse, that the researchers have added the infertility
feature recently developed, so the collected seed simply doesn't
germinate and the farmers are thus forced to buy new seed from CA or
stick with the old varieties.

> 
> On the other hand . . .
> 
> > I don't think that the National Trust are in the plant breeding business.
> 
> If they have nurseries, produce hybrids in them and then sell them in any of
> their 200 shops, then it seems to me that they are very likely to be in that
> business.

ISTR it's worth reading the small print on some plant labels in garden
centres. It specifically mentions that you are not allowed to resell
propagules for profit, and doesn't exclude charities, church fetes, etc.

-- 
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'Do not fear death so much, but rather the inadequate life'
                                            Bertolt Brecht



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