Loc: Waterloo, NY
“People are afraid of being blacklisted,” Dr. Shields of Cornell said.
Crop Scientists Say Biotechnology Seed Companies Are Thwarting Research
By ANDREW POLLACK February 19, 2009
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.
“People are afraid of being blacklisted,” Dr. Shields of Cornell said. “If your sole job is to work on corn insects and you need the latest corn varieties and the companies decide not to give it to you, you can’t do your job.”