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Abs like Jesus
Business Week
Indeed, scattered groups of environmentalists and farmers have been marching since the mid-1990s, when corporations such as Monsanto (MON ) Co. started tweaking the genes of common food crops to make such oddities as corn that's resistant to pests. Critics worry that newfangled crops will creep into the wild and cross-pollinate with natural species, potentially damaging plant diversity and maybe even endangering the people who eat them... Among these innovations are "Terminator genes," named by critics after the Arnold Schwarzenegger character who is again blasting into theaters this month.

As far as costs are concerned, farmers both domestic and abroad are getting the shaft. "Terminator genes" effectively prevent the seeds of an altered plant "from propogating after the first harvest." This would ultimately require farmers to purchase new seed each year, tossing yet another straw onto the backs of struggling farmers, particularly those in still developing third world countries.

The danger of also seems to be the risk of so altered plants somehow passing on such "terminator genes" to other plant life. There seems to be a fear that the genes could threaten bio-diversity and cause a significant shift -- possibly for the worse -- in ecological systems.
  • Do you think it's worth the costs such technology will take on farmers both at home and abroad?
  • Do you think it's worth the environmental risks?
The "terminator" seeds have a valid purpose, to prevent cross-pollination. Scientists are now working on preventing cross pollination and still allowing fertility as noted further down in the article you cite. Let me quote from it.

Some scientists are developing sequels to the Terminator -- new technologies that would both protect the environment and keep seeds fertile. One such effort is under way at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, an environmental group in Ottawa. Researchers there figured out how to get plants to overproduce a hormone that ensures that if pollen from genetically modified crops drifts to other species, the resulting seeds won't germinate. Under this scheme, when two plants containing the same mechanism are crossed, the lethal action doesn't kick in, and the seeds remain fertile. The group is now testing the system in canola and tobacco.

There are conflicting economic interests on every side of this issue. Be wary.
Abs like Jesus
I read that part of it before. I'm hoping to provide more later when I have a chance to look at the other article I have from Discover magazine. Until then though, since you're not noticeably concerned with the environmental risks involved, what do you think about the costs to farmers here and abroad?
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