Monsanto’s Patents on Life

March 7, 2013 — 12 Comments

Should companies be allowed to patent living organisms like seeds and use those patents to monopolize food production globally?

A small farmer from Indiana named Vernon High Bowman is taking on the biotech giant Monsanto in a seed patent infringement case. Monsanto sells to farmers under a contract that requires the farmers to purchase new genetically engineered seeds each year. This means that they are prohibited from saving and replanting the next-generation seeds.

Monsanto’s Patents on Life.

12 responses to Monsanto’s Patents on Life

  1. 

    Monsanto is a terrible company. Indian farmers have actually been committing suicide because they simply can’t keep up with the inevitable debts they incur from Monsanto’s seed deals and policies.

    • 

      Oh wow, that’s so sad. Although I haven’t heard of this before today, I can imagine that the farmers have limited options for making a living and that Monsanto only cares about their own profitability. It’s unbelievable to hear what these type of companies will do to keep their shareholders happy. At the cost of human decency, nothing is off the table. I’ll be watching this case closely in hopes that something good will come from fighting back.

  2. 

    Monsanto is not smart enough to be trusted with the decisions they are making for the rest of us. The consequences are totally unforeseen, far reaching, and are decisions based upon greed, and not for the good of humanity. It smacks of evil!

    • 

      Very well said, I absolutely agree. We can only hope for something positive to come from this case that will spark a stronger movement against Monsanto and companies like them that only care about padding their own pocketbooks. It seems like the general public is becoming more aware of these evils. We all have to remember to use our voices in every way possible and cast our votes where it counts most…consumer spending.

      • 

        I think that the Hippees had it mostly right decades ago, and its the system that we have to fight, corporate and government culture that is the real source of the problem.

  3. 

    Its hard to find any ethical argument to support what Monsanto is doing. However take away the ethical issues for a second, it makes sense to allow business to patent technology. For example, we allow pharmaceutical companies a period of exclusivity on new drugs to allow them to recover the cost of development.

    However, Monsanto seems to be asking for this right in perpetuity. This can’t be good for innovation and competition and can’t be good for society.

    • 

      Absolutely, they are fronting the capital for the research and technology so it’s only logical to protect their product. They are just taking it too far with the right in perpetuity and even in instances where cross pollination occurs naturally due to the wind or insects and animals. It’ll may be a more of a challenge to determine if the farmer or the environment is the cause of cross pollination but would be worth the extra effort.

  4. 

    How far should they be allowed to go in protecting their profits? Self-destruct genes are routinely incorporated into GMO now so that farmers in the next season must purchase again from their supplier. Never in the history of the world has nature developed an organism designed not to allow reproduction, thereby this violates the continuity of the life of these plants.
    Bacteria are among the organisms well known for being to share DNA amongst themselves. It is not yet clearly understood that these genes cannot possibly infect other organisms through the food chain! It’s playing with fire, and all for a buck!
    There may be other mechanisms for distributing these genes beside bacteria, but bacteria are ubiquitous and amazingly adaptable themselves.

    • 

      In fact Bacteria are so adept at copying, cloning, and replicating the DNA of other organisms that this is a standard technique of manipulation in biology labs. If it is so easily done in a lab that it is not unlikely that bacteria will naturally, inadvertently replicate these self destruct genes to other organisms?

      The human body has ten times the number of bacteria, than it has human cells! Outnumbered indeed!

  5. 

    I sent an email to a Bio-Engineer friend of mine as follows,

    Hey Jerry,

    It has just occurred to me that bacteria may be responsible for a great deal of the changes in evolution. They not only have the ability to share genetic information amongst themselves, which makes them incredibly adaptable, and apparently biology labs use them commonly, for this very reason to clone and replicate the DNA of other organisms.

    If they lend themselves to the exchange of genetic information so easily, and they are so small that they can readily penetrate a cells nucleus, why then would they not be the primary vehicles of transferring genes between different species throughout history? There would indeed be evolutionary advantage to this, then every creature itself would not have to reinvent the wheel! This may also explain why a good percentage of the genome is never expressed, it is there, but simply not useful to that organism.

    We are vastly outnumbered by bacteria, the human body has ten times the number of bacteria than it has human cells. They have been around since the beginning of life, and are a huge part of the extra cellular bio terrain of all multicellular organisms.

    GMO foods never made me feel comfortable, especially since most now are equipped with self-destruct genes designed to prevent farmers from saving seeds for the next years crop, it is a form of human enslavement. What I want to know since you are a Biologist, is it possible that bacteria could become lethal by accepting a self destruct gene, or could they infect the DNA of another organism like us with these frightening constructs? The possibilities are frightening.

    Never in the history of life has nature devised an organism that was inherently incapable of replication like this. It violates the first obligation of the living in that it denies the continuity of existence itself.

    Velis et Remis

    Robert

  6. 

    Been doing some research on my own. It’s called Horizontal Gene Transfer, and it documented that it occurs between eukaryotes(us) and Prokaryotes(bacteria). Of course Monsanto plays down this possibility, money is involved!

    http://earthopensource.org/index.php/5-gm-crops-impacts-on-the-farm-and-environment/5-12-myth-horizontal-gene-transfer-from-gm-crops-is-unlikely-or-of-no-consequence

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