Scientists Say Biotechnology Seed Companies Prevent Research

Posted on February 22, 2009  Comments (2)

Crop Scientists Say Biotechnology Seed Companies Are Thwarting Research

Biotechnology companies are keeping university scientists from fully researching the effectiveness and environmental impact of the industry’s genetically modified crops, according to an unusual complaint issued by a group of those scientists.

The researchers, 26 corn-insect specialists, withheld their names because they feared being cut off from research by the companies. But several of them agreed in interviews to have their names used.

The problem, the scientists say, is that farmers and other buyers of genetically engineered seeds have to sign an agreement meant to ensure that growers honor company patent rights and environmental regulations. But the agreements also prohibit growing the crops for research purposes.

So while university scientists can freely buy pesticides or conventional seeds for their research, they cannot do that with genetically engineered seeds. Instead, they must seek permission from the seed companies. And sometimes that permission is denied or the company insists on reviewing any findings before they can be published, they say.

Such agreements have long been a problem, the scientists said, but they are going public now because frustration has been building.

This is not acceptable. Regulators need to put safety above politically connected powerful groups. The bigger problem is we keep electing people more interested in who gives than money than the public interest. But part of the dynamic is embarrassing those that subvert the public good to reward those providing the politicians money. By shining light on what is being done the abuses are often reduced a bit.

Related: The A to Z Guide to Political Interference in ScienceProtecting the Food SupplyUSDA’s failure to protect the food supplyEthanol: Science Based Solution or Special Interest Welfare

2 Responses to “Scientists Say Biotechnology Seed Companies Prevent Research”

  1. Paul
    February 22nd, 2009 @ 4:09 pm

    I took a bioethics class and I learned a lot about the company Monsanto and how much they try to force their product on people and limit it from being used without their permission. It’s pretty sad.

  2. Making Debt Holders into Unpaid Regulators at Curious Cat Investing and Economics Blog
    April 7th, 2010 @ 10:18 pm

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