Talk:Genetic use restriction technology

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Inequitable distribution section[edit]

I'd like to discuss in particular the section headed "The inequitable distribution of means; the targeting of vulnerable classes".

In particular, given the very low likelihood of cross pollination from GURT-containing plants giving rise to sterile seeds, how would communities "become dependent" on industry for seeds?

If the people have not chosen to buy seeds that contain a GURT, I would have thought that the presence of GURTs in other crops, nearby, actually protects the integrity of any farm-saved seed.

Would someone please enlighten me, before I edit this section.


JeremyCherfas 10:17, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

I am a consulting Arborist so I work with trees not farm crops. I have allot of freind in plant research. But I think the concern is that the treminator gene is in the pollen of the gurt plant, it could be transfered via pollenators to the native species, this could cause a large precentage of seeds to be sterile. This could put a small farmer out of business within just a few years or they would have to buy corperate seeds to survive. There is no way to know how gene like this will affect the overall enviroment. Playing with nature can have very negative effects.
Monsanto has been developing seeds for years and years, alot of this R&D work has been paid for by the USDA with the corperation reaping the profits. These terminator seeds are more about controlling agriculture and people. Look into Monsanto's Bovine Growth Hormone it is some scary stuff, linked to cancer and allot of other problems, yet it is still legal in the US. Also a really good video on this subject can be found on google video search for "Nutricide - Criminalizing Natural Health, Vitamins, and Herbs"
—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:50, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
Any small farmer that routinely saved seeds "a large percentage" of which had been pollinated by undesirable neighbouring varieties or wild relatives would have starved to death long ago. Even in the most obligate outbreeders, such as brassicas, crossing is between neighbouring plants, not with far-off varieties. I'm not arguing that industry has often reaped the benefits of government-funded research, only with this one view of how pollination actually works. JeremyCherfas (talk) 09:25, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Interesting claim, JeremyCherfas, but wild pollination has been the primary means for propagation of plants for most of human history and is still commonplace, and farmers aren't really ever culled by starvation as a result. My farmer relatives all rely on wild pollination occasionally, and in the cases where they don't it's because commercially produced seed is tremendously cheaper (so it's more economical to sell their corn in the ear and buy new seed from Pioneer, for example). They can't compete in the marketplace when everybody else is using commercial mass-produced seed, and that's the principal reason they do it - not because they fear wild pollination. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:22, 7 January 2014 (UTC)

reduced agroecological biodiversity[edit]

The text had this statement

This is however a problem in some farming systems, especially for indigenous groups who save seed rather than purchase it from developers. The loss of the ability for such farmers to save seed may lead to decreased agroecological biodiversity on their farms and decreased yields of affected crops.

But this statement is wrong and has no reliable source to back it up. So I deleted it.

GURT does not stop anyone saving the seeds that they already save. It only stops them saving the seeds of a new variety developed by a company they originally bought them off. In an indigenous farming situation the farmer has many varieties (landraces) of seeds that they can choose from and save. The addition of one or two GURT containing varieties does not effect this.

The only way the introduction of a new variety of crop can reduce agrodiversity is if the variety displaces the existing ones. If a new GM variety comes in without GURT but it is very useful then this variety may well displace all the existing ones and cause a loss of agrodiversity. On the other hand if the new GM variety also contains GURT then the chances of it taking over is lower in a situation where farmers have a low ability to pay the company year after year for the new variety. Therefore the GURT trait protects the agrobiodiversity of subsistance farms Ttguy (talk) 10:23, 25 June 2008 (UTC)

Ok, i'm no expert but aren't there issues with intellectual property? If a new crop (with GURT) displaces the pre-existing, then doesn't the producing company own the genetic rights?
Correct. But my point is that if there is GURT and it is expensive then they will not plant the GURT crop and the idigenous varieties will NOT be displaced.Ttguy (talk)
The only way the introduction of a new variety of crop can reduce agrodiversity is if the variety displaces the existing ones.

This is a biological argument that may ignore political-economic realities. (talk) 13:20, 25 June 2008 (UTC)

It is an argument based on logic not biology. It is irrelevant as to whether it is biology, politics or economics that causes the displacement of varieties or not. It still holds. If I start with varietes A and B and add variety C then diversity increases. If I replace B with C then diversity is steady and if I replace A and B with C then diversity decreases. Just basic logic.Ttguy (talk) 11:54, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

potential biological and ecological harms and comunity dependance on agro-industry corporations for seed[edit]

The text made this claim

In addition to potential biological and ecological harms, there is both an economic and normative concern that small farmers, indigenous peoples, and entire rural communities could be made dependent on agro-industry corporations for seed.

I deleted it because:

1. The article has not established what the "potential biological and ecological harms" of the technology are.

2. It is not established how a ago-industry corporation could displace all the existing "open source" varieties. Simple supply and demand will ensure that this is never a problem. The company can either sell the seed at the price a farmer is willing to pay or they can over price it and have the farmer use her saved seed or buy "open source" seed from a neighbour. As soon as a company tries to gouge the community the farmer will just switch back to saved seed or "open source" seed.

You're making the assumption that all farmers will keep their 'open source' seeds. Basic economic theory dictates that if you can, you destroy all competitors before hiking prices. So in this context you would sell cheap terminators for a long time, hope that farmers get rid of their open source variety and then hike the prices.

I'll see if I can find some citations for the "potential biological and ecological harms" and add the text you deleted back in, unless there are any objections. Primary Antagonist (talk) 01:00, 10 April 2012 (UTC)

GURT in use today?[edit]

The Daily Mail claims that Genetic use restriction technology is being used (or was, as of 2008) in India:

I'm not going to use this information if I can't find a better source than a British tabloid. superlusertc 2009 October 16, 00:02 (UTC)

I've got a couple of dueling sources on the subject. On the one hand: An India Today story about the former managing director of Monsanto India doing some whistle blowing on the topic. On the other hand: An NPR interview from March 2010 where a Monsanto rep not only denies selling non-replicators, but also says that the "terminator gene" never existed. Hope this helps.--Enwilson (talk) 03:24, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

Very wise[edit]

Deciding to ignore an article in the Daily Mail is probably very sensible. While not relevant here, a report from IFPRI examined some of the factors associated with farmer-suicides in India, and found that while indebtedness is srongly linked to suicide, the uptake of GM seeds is not associated with indebtedness. I can link to that paper if needed. JeremyCherfas (talk) 14:29, 11 November 2009 (UTC)

Refimprove tag[edit]

This article has had the Refimprove since 2008. But there are no "citations needed" tags anywhere it to suggest where the author of the Refimprove tag believes it is short on citations. I see plenty of citations within the article and am removing the refimprove tag.

citation quality[edit]

I do not feel that the citation for the assertion that "D&PL has long vowed to commercialize Terminator, targeting rice, wheat and soy in particular." from is adequate to establish the fact. It comes from a fairly biased source. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:15, 10 December 2011 (UTC)


Terminator seeds essentially take control away from farmers and hand the reigns over to multi-million dollar corporations such as Monsanto, a company that is no stranger to controversy. Surely this is also a disadvantage? I'll wait a week from today and add this in, unless there are any objections Primary Antagonist (talk) 00:37, 10 April 2012 (UTC)

opposition section makes it sound like the technology exists[edit]

The opposition section makes it sound like someone has invented this technology, when no one has. -- (talk) 19:06, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

Hatting irrelevant comments and personal attacks King Jakob C2 22:19, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

How can anyone stoop so low?![edit]

After reading this article, if I saw the CEO of Monsanto, I would run up to him and kick him in the nuts! How many here would do the same? (talk) 22:16, 27 April 2013 (UTC)


It looks like most of this article is about V-GURT, and T-GURT is only mentioned in order to briefly define the term. Is this something we can easily fix, or is it an issue of source availability? --SoledadKabocha (talk) 03:17, 9 October 2013 (UTC)

The problem appears to be that no proposed method of T-GURT has been commercially deployed, so no reliable sources significantly cover it. (We appear to have a similar problem with disc wobble as a copy-protection scheme.) Am I understanding correctly? --SoledadKabocha (talk) 20:54, 18 April 2016 (UTC)


We have a neutrality issue. Jytdog reverted my edit as "tendentious" back to a state where, as I explained in the edit summary,

  1. the conclusions of one pro-GURT whitepaper are still presented as facts,
  2. these conclusions are presented as "advantages" when it is not clear for whom they are advantageous,
  3. opposition is presented before the viewpoint of those developing the technology, which I find rather strange.

I bet the "tendentious" part is my addition "This technology is intended to protect the interests of biotechnology firms". But that's just paraphrasing the source, which calls for IP protection of gentech. QVVERTYVS (hm?) 15:21, 28 April 2015 (UTC)

I know that among anti-GMO folks, GURT was presented as purely as being some potential way to make more money by ensuring that seeds aren't saved and replanted. If the technology had been commercialized, it would have functioned that way in part. But what that story misses, is that GURT was developed in part by scientists at the USDA as a method to prevent "gene flow" - a big concern of environmentalists and people who have developed the technology. (which would have been extra important had "pharming" become widespread in open fields... something that has not happened) So yes, the edit was tendentious for painting something as black and white, that was not. (it also moot as the technology has never been put into play... yet, anyway) Jytdog (talk) 17:06, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
(edit conflict)I'm not seeing any POV issues with Jytdog's version. It actually removes some weasel words (e.g., supposedly). The removed sentence from the lead (protecting biotech firms, suicide seeds, etc.) can appear to be POV-loaded railing against biotech companies, so I think that was a good move. The first sentence of the Possible Advantages section already covers that in a more NPOV manner.
For 1., what's the specific issue with the source you're seeing? For 2., advantages can vary depending on user, so I don't think it needs to be spelled out explicitly since the who question is answered in some cases, whereas others like reducing escapes is a broad benefit not really to any one group. Basically we've got benefits on the ecological end of things, farmers, companies, etc. 3. appears to be arbitrary in positioning. As long as they are next to each other, I don't think order really matters. Kingofaces43 (talk) 17:13, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
With respect to 3, I changed that heading to Potential uses. Maybe intended uses is a better term or something else to specifying that since they aren't on the market, the list in the main intents for developing GURTs. Seems like a step in the right direction at least. Kingofaces43 (talk) 17:19, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
"Supposedly" is not a weasel word when used with a source: it reflects the fact that the source is presenting an untested hypothesis and is biased. Now we're presenting GURT proponents' hypotheses as facts.
I still think "motivation" is the right term here. QVVERTYVS (hm?) 17:53, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
WP:ALLEGED describes issues with the use of words like supposedly. "Could" already provides a qualification of uncertainty anyways.
The issue with using motivation though, and the vibe I'm getting that you're coming from the perspective of why companies want this, is that attributing motive is really tricky, especially in an encyclopedia. We're here primarily to describe what GURT is and why it's proposed and less focus on who wants to use it. Instead, it's more descriptive just to discuss planned uses regardless of why a particular group may or may not want it. It's better to focus on the use first and reasons for that use as the content currently does, so it seems logical to have "use" in some form in the header. Kingofaces43 (talk) 18:32, 28 April 2015 (UTC)

Citation #1 has vanished[edit]

Reference/Citation/Link-y thingy #1 just redirects to a rather basic site (hah). A little digging later, I find that they've probably restructured their site. I'm guessing this was the article:

I would edit all the citations but I don't know how to do that. (talk) 09:29, 28 April 2016 (UTC)

Well spotted. That one's fixed. If you want to discuss how to make edits yourself, you could contact me on my talk page. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 12:40, 28 April 2016 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Genetic use restriction technology/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

This article appears to reflect commercial interests, and thus not to be reliable. I write this not as an agronomist, but as a professional terminologist who is concerned about slanted definitions, in Wikipedia and elsewhere. If it were me and I did not have access to a less-interested expert, I would simply dispose of such entries, as they compromise the integrity of the database as a whole. Eaton0824 (talk) 21:46, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

Last edited at 01:56, 1 January 2012 (UTC). Substituted at 15:55, 29 April 2016 (UTC)

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