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'Climate-Ready' Crop Patents Threaten Biodiversity

11/10/2010 9:19:16 AM

Tags: biodiversity, agriculture, crop patents

 The ETC Group has identified over 1,663 patent documents that have been filed by some of the leading seed and agrochemical corporations, claiming “climate-ready” crops as the future of the world’s food supply — what some are calling “biopiracy.”

These patents, which are in violation of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Seed Treaty, have raised concern from the Convention on Biological Diversity and FAO that these corporations may be attempting to monopolize the world’s plant biomass. It also raises concern about the future of the world’s food supply.

Rapeseed crop 

These patents claim environmental stress tolerance in plants — which includes drought, heat, flood, cold and salt tolerance — through climate-ready crop genes. If corporations are allowed to claim ownership, not only would major crops contain engineered gene sequences owned by one major corporation, so would the processed food and feed products that come from that crop.

The group at the United Nations’ Convention on Biodiversity in Nagoya, Japan, said the patents could become one of the “broadest and most dangerous patent claims in history.”

Over two-thirds of these patents have been filed by only three companies: DuPont, BASF and Monsanto. And only 10 percent of the total patents are from public sector researchers. Many of the companies involved have placed pressures on governments to facilitate the use of these untested crop genes.

In an attempt to deter a negative outlook on genetically modified crops and to convince governments of their “legitimacy,” these corporations have donated a few of these crop genes to farmers in South Africa.

“In exchange for untested technologies, South governments are being pressured to surrender national sovereignty over intellectual property, biomass, and food,” Silvia Ribeiro of ETC Group said in the report.

Photo by Tony Atkin/Creative Commons 

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Virginia F.
12/17/2010 4:20:43 PM
say no to gmo – this should get you started Edna_1;_ylt=AlN.Z41jDrVX8q4V7Hi1h0qbvZx4?fr=yfp-t-701-s&toggle=1&cop=mss&ei=UTF8&p=just%20say%20no%20to%20gmo

Tia Hansen
12/17/2010 3:15:22 PM
Creating plants that are better suited to each environment actually decreases the need for chemicals (pesticides and fertilizers. I do worry about genetic diversity because one disease can come and wipe out an entire food supply. But we do need to find a way to farm more sustainably that means minimizing inputs and that might mean GMOs.

12/17/2010 9:59:08 AM
What you need to do is DEMAND that GMO food be labeled as such!! Write your congressman!! and remember EVERY time you buy somthing you cast a vote avoiding GM food sends a big message!! Go to for a non gm food list and more info

Evelyn Casto_2
11/29/2010 10:47:40 AM
They are killing us and the planet itself with chemicals. I guess it wasn't working fast enough so now they are poisoning our food. GM food has been shown to cause so many health problems in addition to not being nutritious. Lab rats choose starvation over eating GM grain. Everyone needs to go to to find out more about the health dangers of GM food. How could any government allow any corporation to force them to give a patent on life, even if it is plant life? I guess that shows us who is really controlling the world. We need to find a way to stop this before it is too late, if it isn't too late already. WHOEVER CONTROLS THE FOOD SUPPLY CONTROLS THE WORLD.

kaprice evers
11/23/2010 9:16:09 AM
Piracy is it? Then we should treat them as they used to treat pirates. Didn't they have to walk the gang plank. Law of the land should take over when our political process won't deal with these greedy corporations as they should be dealt with.

11/22/2010 11:50:23 AM
what can we do to stop this ?telling us about it does not do any thing to stop it tell us what we need to do .

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