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Following are excerpts from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website at www.ars.usda.gov/whatsnew.htm on “Why USDA’s Technology Protection System (aka “Terminator”) Benefits Agriculture”: “U.S. Patent 5,723,765 entitled ‘Control of Plant Gene Expression’ ...covers technology referred to as a plant ‘Technology Protection System’ (TPS). TPS uses a genetic engineering approach to prevent unwanted germination of plant seeds...Hybrid seeds found in corn, sunflower, sorghum and other crops provide a conventional genetic protection system that allows seed companies to protect their investment in developing and marketing new varieties. But other crops produce seed that can be saved and replanted in the next growing season. Because of this seed-saving practice, companies are often reluctant to make research investments in many crops because they cannot recoup their multiyear investment in developing improved varieties through sales in one year. TPS would protect investments made in breeding or genetically engineering these crops...by reducing potential sales losses from unauthorized reproduction and sale of seed...TPS will be used initially with self-pollinated crops such as cotton, soybeans and wheat.” A few questions to ponder: “unwanted germination of plant seeds” unwanted by whom? “unauthorized reproduction and sale of seed” unauthorized by whom? Is government research for the benefit of the public sector or the private sector? Don’t want your government to be in the business of supporting behemoth corporations at the public expense? Don’t want it in the business of preventing farmers from saving or reselling their own seed? Write The Honorable Dan Glickman, Secretary, US Department of Agriculture, 200-A Whitten Bldg., 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250 or fax him at (202) 720-2166 and share a few of your thoughts with him!!
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