Monsanto Licenses
CRISPR Technology

Monsanto tests its products in Greenhouses not unlike these. By National Rural Knowledge Exchange (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Monsanto tests its products in Greenhouses not unlike these. By National Rural Knowledge Exchange (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Monsanto announced last week that it has licensed the use of CRISPR technology from The Broad Institute. The exciting technology will be used to further its seed business, which is committed to producing seed that has a better yield, or is more drought-resistant, or other desirable properties. There are 2 important caveats that come with the licensing. Monsanto must not use “gene driving” or use the technology to produce crops that produce sterile seed. Gene driving is a technique whereby both sexes of parents carry the same targeted gene, thereby ensuring that all offspring will have the desired trait. The “sterile seed” issue is one that has put Monsanto in the hot seat in the past, since it makes it virtually impossible to get seed from one’s crops, something that farmers have done for thousands of years.

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