info4action archive

[Index][Thread]

RAFI Communique: Suicide Seeds on the Fast Track




RAFI Communique

February/March 2000

Terminator 2 Years Later:
Suicide Seeds on the Fast Track 


"We’ve continued right on with work on the Technology Protection System
[Terminator]. We never really slowed down. We’re on target, moving ahead to
commercialize it. We never really backed off."  - Harry Collins, Delta & Pine
Land Seed Co., January, 2000 


ISSUE:  Despite mounting opposition from national governments and United
Nations’ agencies, work on Terminator and Traitor (genetic trait control)
moves
full speed ahead. After Monsanto and AstraZeneca publicly vowed not to
commercialize suicide seeds in 1999, governments and civil society
organizations were lulled into thinking that the crisis had passed. Nothing
could be further from the truth. Last year AstraZeneca conducted its first
field trial on genetic trait control technology in the UK. According to
industry sources, it is not the first company to conduct field tests. Can
commercialization be far behind?

PLAYERS: Delta & Pine Land, the world’s largest cotton seed company, proudly
asserts that it is "moving ahead to commercialize" Terminator. Monsanto and
AstraZeneca have each merged with other companies since they pledged not to
commercialize suicide seeds. The Gene Giants collectively hold over 30
Terminator-type patents. Corporate commitments to disavow Terminator are
short-lived and virtually meaningless in light of the eye-popping pace of
corporate takeovers and makeovers. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO) Director General Jacques Diouf has joined many South
governments in opposing Terminator. Despite massive public protest, the US
Department of Agriculture (USDA) continues to defend and support anti-farmer,
Terminator research.

IMPACT: Without government action to firmly reject Terminator and Traitor,
these technologies will soon be available commercially, with potentially
disastrous consequences for farmers, food security and biodiversity.
Chemically
dependent seeds ­ the goal of Traitor technology - will hold farmers and food
security hostage to a handful of multinational enterprises. National
agricultural production could become wholly dependent upon foreign exports of
critical chemical inducers. Entire countries could be forced to surrender
national seed sovereignty and be held in biological bondage if governments
decided to use the technology to enforce trade sanctions or resolve trade
disputes. Could genetic trait control technology become a biological weapon
used for agro-terrorism?

POLICY: The future of Terminator/Traitor Technology rests with national
governments and multinational corporations.  The pressure points for political
action are, first and foremost, with national governments around the world. 
Second, pressure should be applied at key international fora such as the
Convention on Biological Diversity, FAO, the World Trade Organization’s
Trade-Related Intellectual Property (WTO/TRIPs), at the upcoming Global Forum
on Agricultural Research in Dresden, and at negotiations in Geneva to
strengthen the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. RAFI’s work in Year
Three of the Terminator will be in these international areas. 

INTRODUCTION
Nearly two years after the notorious Terminator patent was issued, Delta &
Pine
Land Seed Co. and the US government are putting genetically engineered suicide
seeds on a fast-track to commercial reality. Agrochemical giant, AstraZeneca,
conducted its first field test of "Traitor" technology (genetic trait control)
in the UK last year.  Meanwhile, FAO’s Director General Jacques Diouf, and
many
South governments, have rejected Terminator. In the following pages, RAFI
summarizes recent developments and concludes with policy recommendations. 

After Monsanto made a public commitment not to commercialize Terminator seeds
in October 1999, some governments and civil society organizations were lulled
into believing that suicide seeds are "history" and that the crisis had
passed.  Nothing could be further from the truth. 

Monsanto’s decision to back away from Terminator technology, after prompting
from Rockefeller Foundation’s president, Gordon Conway, was an important
step. 
It’s not every day that a major multinational enterprise caves in to public
opposition and "rejects" a new technology. Over the past year, Monsanto, the
world’s most visible and notorious corporate crusader for genetically
engineered seeds, has been battered and bruised by the anti-biotech backlash.
Pulling the plug on Terminator was a desperate attempt by Monsanto to distance
itself from what is universally considered the most morally offensive
application of ag biotechnology (so far) ­ plants that are engineered to
produce sterile seeds. 

Traitor technology or "genetic use restriction technology" (GURTs) refers to
the use of an external chemical "inducer" to turn on or off a plant’s genetic
traits ­ the same mechanism used to control seed sterility in Terminator
plants. 

Terminator and Traitor technology are on a fast track to commercialization. If
there were ever any doubt, consider the unequivocal position of Delta & Pine
Land  (D&PL) Seed Company, as expressed by its vice-president for technology
transfer, Harry Collins: "We never really slowed down. We’re on target, moving
ahead to commercialize it. We never really backed off." (1) 

Delta & Pine Land Seed Co. is co-owner, with the U.S. Department of
Agriculture, of the prototype Terminator patent, US Patent No. 5,723,765.
Until
recently, Delta & Pine Land’s role in developing suicide seeds had been
relatively obscured because Monsanto announced that it would acquire D&PL in
mid-1998. Stalled by US anti-trust agencies, Monsanto withdrew its takeover
bid
in December 1999, and paid a break-up penalty of $81 million to D&PL.  Now,
D&PL, the world’s largest cotton seed company, is assuming a risky,
high-profile, pro-Terminator position. D&PL is also suing Monsanto for at
least
$1 billion in damages for allegedly breaching their merger agreement. (2) 
Though clearly tainted by the negative publicity surrounding Terminator, D&PL
is a prize takeover target for the corporate seed industry because of its
mammoth market share in commercial cotton seed; the company controls an
estimated 71% of the North American cotton seed market and is rapidly
expanding
in Asia.

CORPORATE MORPHS AND MIRRORS
In 1999, two major Gene Giants, each of whom hold their own Terminator
patents,
publicly vowed not to commercialize genetic seed sterilization technology. (3)
On February 24, 1999 the R&D Director of Zeneca wrote,  "Zeneca is not
developing any system that would stop farmers growing second-generation seed,
nor do we have any intention of doing so." (4) In October 1999 Monsanto’s CEO
Robert Shapiro pledged "not to commercialize gene protection systems that
render seed sterile." (5) 

When Shapiro made the announcement, he also made a point of saying that
Monsanto does not own its own seed sterilization technology. This is false. In
fact, Monsanto’s in-house Terminator technology is described in the company’s
patent, WO 9744465, "Method for Controlling Seed Germination Using Soybean
ACYL
COA Oxidase Sequences,"published 27 November 1997 under the Patent Cooperation
Treaty in Europe. 

Zeneca’s R& D director wrote in 1999 that Terminator was "one piece of
technology we did not want to take forward, and the project was stopped in
1992." (6)  But ExSeed Genetics, an AstraZeneca joint venture with Iowa State
University won a new seed sterilization patent as recently as August 11, 1997,
based on a claim made in 1995 ­ three years after AstraZeneca’s reportedly
abandoned its research on genetic seed sterilization. (7)

Corporate commitments to disavow Terminator are short-lived and virtually
meaningless in light of the eye-popping pace of corporate takeovers and
makeovers.  Monsanto and AstraZeneca have each merged with other companies
since they pledged not to commercialize suicide seeds. Will the new corporate
entities respect earlier commitments? Is corporate accountability possible
in a
climate where companies change names and CEOs faster than dance partners?

* On December 2, 1999 Novartis and AstraZeneca announced they would spin-off
and merge their agrochemical and seed divisions to create the world’s biggest
agribusiness corporation ­ to be named "Syngenta."

* On December 19, 1999 Monsanto announced that it will merge with drug
industry
giant Pharmacia & Upjohn to create a new company, named Pharmacia, with
combined annual sales of $17 billion. The merged company will spin-off its
agricultural chemical and besieged biotech business, which will keep the name
Monsanto and headquarters in St. Louis (USA).  The agricultural biotech
business will be at least 80% owned by the parent corporation, Pharmacia.

RAFI has written to all the major Gene Giants who collectively hold more than
30 Terminator-type patents, asking them to clarify or re-state their position
on Terminator, especially in light of recent mergers. What happens when
AstraZeneca, a company that has vowed not to commercialize genetic seed
sterilization, joins forces with Novartis ­ a company that holds at least nine
US patents related to Terminator and genetic trait control, and which has not
publicly disavowed Terminator? We await responses from AstraZeneca, DuPont,
Novartis, Aventis, Monsanto/Pharmacia, BASF and Dow Agrosciences.  (Note: We
are not currently aware of Terminator or Traitor patents held by Dow, but as a
major player in agricultural biotechnology, we have asked Dow to state its
position on the issue.)

Ultimately, we cannot depend on the good will of multinational corporations.
Without government action to firmly reject Terminator and Traitor, these
technologies will be commercialized within a few years, with potentially
disastrous consequences for farmers, food security and biodiversity. 

"We are against (terminator genes). We are happy to see that in the end
some of
the main multinationals which have been involved in implementing  these
terminator genes have decided to backtrack," (8) ­ FAO Director General
Jacques
Diouf

FAO’S DIOUF SAYS NO TO TERMINATOR
In a recent interview, the Director General of the United Nations Food and
Agriculture Organization (FAO) Jacques Diouf declared FAO’s opposition to
Terminator. Diouf pointed out that the technology would affect farmers in both
the North and the South. Diouf’s public rejection of Terminator reverses
earlier statements made by one high-ranking FAO official. The positive change
could be attributed, in part, to the letter-writing campaign of Global
Response
(a US-based non-profit organization) whose 4,000 members in forty countries
wrote to Director General Diouf last year, asking him to oppose the Terminator
as a matter of global food security. In publicly rejecting Terminator, FAO’s
Diouf has come to the defense of the 1.4 billion people who depend upon
farm-saved seed for their survival. As the United Nations’ voice for global
food security, and in the context of its Food for All campaign, FAO member
states should now consider a formal resolution to reject Terminator.

South Governments Reject Terminator
Last year RAFI sent 550 letters to ministers of agriculture, environment and
patent offices in 140 countries. The letters asked government officials to
assert national sovereignty over their seed supply and to ban the seed
sterilization technology outright. Under the terms of the WTO’s Trade-Related
Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs), any government can reject an
intellectual property claim related to a plant variety if it poses a threat to
the environment or offends public morality. 

So far, RAFI has received responses from approximately 30 governments. The
responses range from governments favoring a complete ban on the technology, to
those who are developing a policy on the issue, to those who staunchly defend
Terminator.  Among the governments that have announced their intention to
oppose Terminator technology are Panama, India, Ghana, and Uganda. Many others
indicate that the patents require special review and consideration.

India, one of the first governments to publicly reject Terminator, explicitly
prohibits Terminator genes in a draft bill "Protection of Plant Varieties and
Farmers’ Rights," which is now before the Indian Parliament. (9) Although the
proposed bill is controversial and opposed by many Indian CSOs (10) the
anti-Terminator clause demonstrates India’s fervent, anti-Terminator position.
Section 14(2): "...no variety shall be registered under this Act if such
variety contains any gene or gene sequence involving any technology including
terminator technology which is injurious to the life or health of human
beings,
animals, or plants". 

India’s M.S. Swaminathan, former independent chairman of the FAO Council and
recipient of World Food Prize, explains:

"For example, in India where there are nearly 100 million operational
holdings,
denial of plant-back rights or the use of the terminator mechanism will be
disastrous from the socio-economic and biodiversity points of view, since over
80 per cent of farmers plant their own farm-saved seeds." ­ M.S. Swaminathan
(11) 

Ghanaian Minister of Environment, Cletus Avoka, says that his government will
not tolerate the use of Terminator technology. (12)  Panama’s Minister of
Agriculture and Fisheries writes that his government "will adopt measures to
prohibit the specific patents as well as the technology in general." (13)
Ugandan officials have said that their government is discussing measures to
outlaw Terminator at the highest levels of government. 

While visiting India last year, Maurice F. Strong, past Secretary General of
UNCED (Rio Earth Summit) underscored the need for government action to reject
Terminator. "If the owners of technology, such as big companies, used it to
victimize people through methods such as promotion of ‘terminator genes’, the
state should intervene and not leave the task to the market mechanism." (14) 

US "AGRO-TERRORISM?" 
In the face of international controversy and massive public opposition to
Terminator, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) staunchly defends its
patent on genetic seed sterilization and continues to negotiate a licensing
agreement with its seed industry partner, Delta & Pine Land. The day after
Monsanto announced its decision to reject Terminator, the USDA’s Richard Parry
told the Wall St. Journal, "I think Monsanto needs to carefully reconsider its
position." (15) In addition to in- house research, USDA has supported research
on suicide seeds at Purdue University (Indiana, USA), which holds its own
Terminator patent. (16) 

Over ten thousand individuals have written, faxed, phoned and emailed
Secretary
of Agriculture Glickman, imploring him to abandon the Terminator patent and
forego all research on genetic seed sterilization.  Farmers and consumers in
the US are angry that taxpayer dollars are being used to support research
whose
primary aim is to increase seed industry profits. Why is USDA blatantly
ignoring its farmer constituency and the public outcry against suicide seeds?
Using twisted logic and contradictory information, the USDA web site explains
the agency’s commitment to Terminator and Traitor technology:

"USDA has no plans to introduce TPS into any germplasm in our collections or
plant research programs. Our involvement has been to help develop the
technology, not to assist companies to use it. ARS is also committed to making
the technology as widely available as possible, so that its benefits will
accrue to all segments of society. Negotiations with Delta & Pine Land on the
licensing terms have focused on this need. ARS [USDA] intends to do
research on
other applications of this unique gene control discovery, but which are
unrelated to seed germination. When new applications are at the appropriate
stage of development, this technology will also be transferred to the private
sector for commercial application." ­ USDA’s Agricultural Research Service web
site

On October 27, 1999 RAFI, together with RAFI-USA and other partner CSOs held a
press briefing in Washington, DC which was followed by a meeting with US
Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman on October 28. (RAFI news release, USDA
Must Abandon Terminator Technology, 29 October 1999,
<http://www.rafi.org/>http://www.rafi.org) It was the third meeting that RAFI
and CSO partners have held with high-level officials at USDA on Terminator,
but
it was the first audience with Secretary Glickman. 

The diverse farmer, consumer, environmental and advocacy organizations
asked US
Secretary of Agriculture Glickman to act on the following policy
recommendations: 

1. USDA should cease negotiations with Delta & Pine Land on the licensing of
it's jointly held patent, U.S. patent number 5,723,765, and abandon all
research on genetic seed sterilization, including research grants to
university
scientists. 

2. USDA should adopt a strict policy prohibiting the use of taxpayer
dollars to
support genetic seed sterilization. 

3. USDA should use public research dollars to re-invigorate public plant
breeding for family farmers and sustainable agriculture. Instead of
engineering
seeds for sterility, USDA should boost breeding programs that will lessen
farmers' dependency on chemicals, fertilizers, and other expensive inputs. 

4. All seed and agrochemical corporations should make the same pledge that
Monsanto made earlier this month. DuPont, Novartis, Aventis, and others should
make a public commitment not to commercialize Terminator seed technology as
well as the closely related genetic trait control technologies. 

Although Glickman pledged to personally look into the issue, there has been no
official response. Glickman recently appointed a National Advisory Board on
Agricultural Biotechnology. Terminator will undoubtedly be among the first
issues on the Board’s GMO-laden agenda. USDA’s biotech advisory board must act
swiftly to veto the Agency’s involvement with Terminator technology as an
inappropriate goal for publicly funded agricultural research. 

MORE BIOLOGICAL BONDAGE: TRAITOR TECHNOLOGY
Last year RAFI warned that the Gene Giants’ current focus on genetic trait
control technology, or "Traitor" technology, is a launching pad for
bioserfdom.
Traitor technology ­or  genetic use restriction technology (GURTs) ­ uses
external chemicals to switch on or off a plant’s genetic traits. If companies
can successfully engineer seeds to perform only with the application of a
proprietary pesticide or fertilizer, it means that the Gene Giants will
dramatically increase sales of their proprietary inputs. Intoxicating seeds
for
genetic trait control will reinforce chemical dependencies in agriculture that
are costly and hazardous for farmers and the environment. An especially
disturbing scenario described in some patents is the potential for external
chemicals to disable a plant’s natural plant functions ­ the plant’s
ability to
fight disease, for instance.  The long-term implications, both for farmers and
for national seed sovereignty, are sobering. National agricultural produ!
ction could become wholly dependent upon foreign exports of critical chemical
inducers. Entire countries could be forced to surrender national seed
sovereignty and be held in biological bondage if governments decided to use
the
technology to enforce trade sanctions or resolve trade disputes. Could genetic
trait technology become a biological weapon used for agro-terrorism? Although
Terminator has captured the spotlight, Traitor technology may prove far more
insidious because the Gene Giants will argue convincingly that genetic trait
control brings positive benefits to farmers (the option of picking from a menu
of value-added traits.) 

TRAITOR IN THE FIELDS
Traitor technology is not just on the drawing board, it’s already in the
field.
According to Econexus, a UK-based civil society organization, Zeneca received
approval from the UK government in 1999 to conduct a field release of genetic
trait control in tobacco and potato plants.  (17)  The field test is designed
to test the efficacy of inducible promoters. In the presence of the chemical
inducer, ethanol, the tobacco plants are expected to demonstrate an easily
identifiable phenotype, such as leaf curling. Zeneca’s field test demonstrates
that Traitor technology is moving forward. According to Nigel Poole of Zeneca,
it was the first field test of an inducible promoter technology for Zeneca,
but
by no means was it the first field test of that kind for the biotechnology
industry. (18) 

In 1999, RAFI identified over 30 patent claims related to Terminator and
Traitor technology involving virtually all the Gene Giants. Many more patent
claims on Traitor technology have issued in recent months. A RAFI update on
Traitor technology is forthcoming.

"If the owners of technology, such as big companies, used it to victimize
people through methods such as promotion of ‘terminator genes’, the state
should intervene and not leave the task to the market mechanism." ­ Maurice F.
Strong, past Secretary-General UNCED (Rio Earth Summit), April 17, 1999

The Bottom Line
Although global opposition to Terminator and Traitor is strong and growing, it
has not stopped companies from moving forward. Meanwhile, governments and
civil
society are being lulled into thinking that the crisis has passed.

What are the lessons learned over the past two years? And where will the
political battles be fought in coming months? To summarize:

* We can’t depend on the good will of corporations to prevent Terminator seeds
from becoming a commercial reality. Without government action to ban
Terminator
and Traitor, these technologies will be commercialized. 

* Terminator and Traitor technologies are not limited to a single patent, nor
is the research confined to one or two companies. Although Delta & Pine
Land is
currently the high-profile crusader for Terminator, the goal of genetic trait
control is industry-wide.

* It is important to keep pressure on the US government and USDA’s disgraceful
support of Terminator. Many prominent agricultural bodies, such as the
Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and
Wageningen University, have already concluded that genetic seed sterilization
is an unacceptable goal for public agricultural research. Public opposition
must force USDA to reach the same conclusion. But even if USDA ultimately
surrenders its Terminator patent, it will not prevent commercialization of the
technology. 

WHO HAS THE GUTS TO FIGHT GURTs?

What are the upcoming opportunities for national governments to challenge
Traitor technology and call for a ban of Terminator? 

National Governments: Governments should ban Terminator as a matter of ordre
public. For example, India’s draft legislation, "The Protection of Plant
Varieties and Farmers' Rights" makes a provision for excluding varieties that
are contrary to public morality. Article 29(1) of the Act states: "This clause
provides that registration of a variety will not be allowed in cases where
prevention of commercial exploitation of such variety is necessary to protect
public order or public morality or human, animal or plant life and health
or to
avoid serious prejudice to the environment. The Central Government can exclude
any genus or species from the purview of protection in public interest". 

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD):  In June 1999 the CBD’s
Scientific and Technical Body (SBSTTA) dropped the ball on Terminator when
delegates narrowly failed to adopt a proposed "moratorium" on field trials and
commercialization of Terminator. Despite strong support by Norway, India,
Portugal, Kenya, Peru and a dozen other countries, SBSTTA failed to adopt the
moratorium under intense pressure from the US. 

The Fifth Conference of the Parties (COPs) to the Convention on Biological
Diversity will meet in Nairobi, May 15-26.  With Terminator and Traitor
technology moving forward rapidly, the COPs must renew efforts to declare
Terminator a threat to biodiversity and national sovereignty over genetic
resources. At COP 5 in Nairobi, Terminator will become a litmus test for the
newly adopted (but not yet ratified) Biosafety Protocol. CBD has already urged
parties to exercise caution and apply the Precautionary Principle to genetic
seed sterilization. If necessary, CBD must declare precedence over the WTO on
this issue. 

FAO: At its next full session the FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food
and Agriculture should pass a resolution condemning Terminator because of the
threat it poses to crop genetic diversity. As a recipient of donated seed for
poor farmers, FAO should announce that it will neither accept nor distribute
seed engineered for sterility, if and when such seeds becomes available. 

Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR): The first-ever Global Forum on
Agricultural Research will convene in Dresden, Germany May 21-23, 2000.  The
objective of the meeting is to bring together the major international
actors in
the area of agricultural research and development to discuss the medium and
long-term goals for agricultural research and the South’s food security. GFAR
should discuss the negative implications of Terminator and Traitor Tech for
world food security and should make a statement against the technologies. 
GFAR
should agree to undertake a full review of new biotech approaches to plant
breeding in conjunction with the CGIAR review. The CGIAR, the world's largest
network of agricultural researchers, has already adopted a policy prohibiting
the use of Terminator technology in its Third World plant breeding programs. 

World Trade Organization/Trade-Related Intellectual Property (WTO/TRIPS):
Under
the terms of the WTO/TRIPs, Article 27.2, any government can reject an
intellectual property claim if it poses a threat to the environment or offends
ordre public (public morality). Concerned governments can argue that the
language in Article 27 should be expanded to allow bans not merely on
individual plant varieties, but on whole technologies applied to plants, such
as Terminator. If successful, this approach will reinforce the efforts of
governments who believe that life patenting is against national public
morality.  

BTWC: The 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) ratified by 144
countries bans the development and production of biological weapons. A
conference to review and strengthen the 1972 Convention is due in 2001. The Ad
Hoc Working Group revising the Biological Weapons Convention should
undertake a
study of Terminator/Traitor technologies as a possible violation of Article 1
of the Treaty. (19)  RAFI does not believe that the US government has any
intention of using Traitor or Terminator technology as a biological weapon.
Nonetheless, the development of genetic seed sterilization and trait
control is
war on farmers and on the hungry, and these technologies at least breach the
spirit of the BTWC.  

RAFI ANALYSIS:
The future of Terminator/Traitor Technology rests with national governments
and
multinational corporations.  While pressure should continue to be applied to
the USDA to force them to abandon the technology and prevent its licensing in
the USA, we recognize that the USDA patents are neither "cutting-edge" nor
significant given the scope of research being undertaken by the Gene Giants. 
Given this reality, the pressure points for political action are, first and
foremost, with national governments around the world.  Second, pressure should
be applied at key international fora such as through the BioSafety Protocol at
the CBD, the CBW Treaty negotiations in Geneva, and at WTO TRIPS.   If
political initiatives can be taken in these fora ­ as well as at FAO and the
GFAR in Dresden, both the corporations and the US Government will have to
retreat.  RAFI’s work in Year Three of the Terminator will be in these
international areas.

(1) Collins is quoted in: "Terminator Technology Not Terminated,"
Agra/Industial Biotechnology Legal  Letter, January 2000, Vol. 1, No. 1, p.
4. 
(2)McGrath, Leah. Dow Jones Newswire, February 3, 2000, "Delta & Pine Land
Board OK's Buyback Of Up To $50M In Stock."
(3) It has been erroneously reported  by Monsanto and others that Monsanto
does
not own its own Terminator technology. Monsanto has a patent published under
the Patent Cooperation Treaty, WO97/44465, "Method for Controlling Seed
Germination Using Soybean ACYL COA Oxidase Sequences." AstraZeneca’s patents
include: US 5,808,034; WO9735983; WO9738106; WO 9403619. 
(4) Letter from Dr. D.A. Evans, Research & Development Director, Zeneca
Agrochemicals, to Prof. Richard Jefferson, CAMBIA, Australia, dated 24
February
1999.
(6) Open Letter from Monsanto CEO Robert B. Shapiro to Rockefeller Foundation
President Gordon Conway and others, 4 October 1999. On the internet:
<http://www.monsanto.com/monsanto/gurt/default.htm>http://www.monsanto.com/
monsanto/gurt/default.htm
(7) Letter from Dr. D.A. Evans, Research & Development Director, Zeneca
Agrochemicals, to Prof. Richard Jefferson, CAMBIA, Australia, dated 24
February
1999. The letter was published in UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/4/Inf.3 Supplementary
information to UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/4/9/Rev.1, "Consequences of the Use of the New
Technology for the Control of Plant Gene Expression for the Conservation and
Sustainable Use of Biological Diversity, 18 May 1999. 
(8) ExSeed Genetics’ patent is WO9907211A1: Controlled Germination Using
Inducible  Phytate Gene, published February 18, 1999.
(9) Brough, David , Reuters, INTERVIEW-GMOs could help war on hunger-FAO,
February  8, 2000.
India’s draft legislation, "The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers'
Rights" makes a provision for excluding varieties that are contrary to public
morality. Article 29(1) of the Act states: "This clause provides that
registration of a variety will not be allowed in cases where prevention of
commercial exploitation of such variety is necessary to protect public
order or
public morality or human, animal or plant life and health or to avoid serious
prejudice to the environment. The Central Government can exclude any genus or
species from the purview of protection in public interest".
(10) See, for example, critique by Ashish Kothari, Kalpavriksh - Environmental
Action Group, "Farmers or Corporations: Who Does the Plant Varieties Bill
Benefit?" To receive a copy of Kothari’s critique, contact:
ashish@giasdl01.vsnl.net.in
(11) Swaminathan, M.S., "Farmers’ Rights and Plant Genetic Resources,"
Biotechnology & Development Monitor, No. 36, 1998, p.6-9.
(12) Anonymous, "Ghana Blocking GMOs," AgBiotech Reporter, February, 2000, p.
16.
(13) Letter from Panama’s Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Olmedo
Espino,
to RAFI, June 21, 1999. 
(14) Maurice F. Strong made the statement in India, April 7, 1999.
(15) Kilman, Scott. "Monsanto Won’t Commercialize Terminator Gene," Wall St.
Journal, October 5, 1999.
(16) The international patent was published under the Patent Cooperation
Treaty, number WO/9911807, published March 11, 1999. The patent is licensed to
the Purdue Research Foundation, and the inventors are Purdue University
professors. Although the USDA is not a co-inventor, the US government has
certain rights in the invention because the invention was made with support
from the USDA.
(17) Personal communication with Viola Sampson, of Econexus (UK). Sampson has
been actively monitoring the development  of Traitor technology.
(18 Personal communication with Nigel Poole, Zeneca UK, February 23, 2000.
(19) Excerpt from the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention: Article I. Each
State Party to this Convention undertakes never in any circumstances to
develop, produce, stockpile or otherwise acquire or retain:  (1) Microbial or
other biological agents, or toxins whatever their origin or method of
production, of types and in quantities that have no justification for
prophylactic, protective, or other peaceful purposes;  (2) Weapons, equipment,
or means of delivery designed to use such agents or toxins for hostile
purposes
or in armed conflict.

For more information: 
  
Hope Shand, RAFI 
Tel: 919 960-5223   
Email: hope@rafi.org 

Silvia Ribeiro, RAFI 
Email: silvia@rafi.org 

Julie Delahanty, RAFI 
Email:julie@rafi.org  
  
RAFI (The Rural Advancement Foundation International) is an international
civil
society organization based in Canada.  RAFI is dedicated to the conservation
and sustainable use of biodiversity, and to the socially responsible
development of technologies useful to rural societies.  RAFI is concerned
about
the loss of agricultural biodiversity, and the impact of intellectual property
on farmers and food security.  


RAFI International Office, 110 Osborne Street, Suite 202, Winnipeg, Manitoba,
R3L 1Y5 Canada 
Tel: 204 453-5259   Fax: 204 925-8034  email: rafi@rafi.org  
<http://www.rafi.org/>http://www.rafi.org