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(instead of having to go back to Monsanto for their seeds each year). Vernon Bowman had legally purchased Roundup Ready seeds for several years before he hatched a plan to circumvent both having to buy the herbicide-resistant seeds from Monsanto each year, and having to sign the contract forbidding him from replanting those seeds. He bought soybeans from a local grain silo, knowing that it would include a mix of Roundup Ready and nonRoundup Ready soybeans - and that, although it was meant for livestock feed, many of the beans would still be viable as seed. Bowman planted the soybeans and sprayed the field with

Roundup; the plants that survived were the Roundup Ready ones, and he saved and replanted those seeds for several years. But in 2007, Monsanto found out and sued Bowman for patent infringement. The Indiana Federal Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit both ruled that Bowman owes Monsanto over $84,000. Now the case has reached the Supreme Court, but after the Court heard arguments from both sides (but especially from Monsanto’s lawyer, who had significantly more uninterrupted speaking time), the verdict doesn’t look likely to change.

Bowman’s lawyer, Mark Walters, challenged not just Monsanto’s case against Bowman but the patents themselves. The Supreme Court even the more liberal justices, such as Justice Sonia Sotamayor - did not appear convinced. “He can plant and harvest and eat or sell,” Justice Antonin Scalia said, echoing the sentiments of Chief Justice John Roberts. “He just can’t plant, harvest, and then replant.” “We disagree that the activity of basic farming could be considered making the invention,” Walter responded. The Court is expected to hand down its ruling by June. nnn

www.landesbioscience.com/journals/ gmcrops/02SappingtonGMC1-2. pdf, accessed 18 Feb 2013 6. Stutz B (2010) Companies Put Restrictions on Research into GM Crops. Yale Environmnet 360. http://e360.yale.edu/content/print. msp?id=2273, accessed 18 Feb 2013 7. Understandably, the people who told me their experiences did so in confidence. 8. Food & Water Watch (2012) Public Research, Private Gain: Corporate Influence Over University Agricultural Research. http://documents.foodandwaterwatch.org/doc/PublicResearchPrivateGain. pdf, accessed 18 Feb 2013 9. Crouch ML (1991) The very structure of scientific research mitigates against developing products to help the environment, the poor, and the hungry. J. Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 4:151-158

Thomson Reuters, 8 Mar. 2011. 5. “Biofuel Crops Breeding and Improvement.” Agradis, Web. 6. National Renewable Energy Laboratory. NREL’s Multi-Junction Solar Cells Teach Scientists How to Turn Plants into Powerhouses. N.p., 12 May 2011. 7. Synthetic Biology: 10 Key Points for Delegates. ETC Group, Oct. 2012. <http:// www.etcgroup.org/sites/www.etcgroup.org/ files/synbio_ETC4COP11_4web_0.pdf>. 8. Rodemeyer, Michael. New Life, Old Bottles: Regulating the First-Generation Products of Synthetic Biology. Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Synthetic Biology Project, 2009. 9. Wade, Nicholas. “Researchers Say They Created a ‘Synthetic Cell.’” The New York Times. 20 May 2010. 10. Bittman, Mark. “A Simple Fix for Farming.” New York Times, 19 Oct. 2012. 11. “Agroecology and Sustainable Development.” Pesticide Action Network North America, Apr. 2009. 12. “Principles for the Oversight of Synthetic Biology.” Friends of the Earth, Mar. 2012.

Endnotes Editor’s Note, p. 2 1. http://www.poultryhub.org/ wp-content/uploads/2012/06/ Ross308BroilerPerfObj2012R1.pdf; http:// en.aviagen.com/assets/Tech_Center/Ross_ Broiler/Ross708BroilerPerfObj2012R1.pdf Martha Crouch, p. 8 1. 2009 Monsanto Technology/Stewardship Agreement (Limited Use License) 2. Gorman ME, Simmonds J, Ofiesh C, Smith R, and Werhane PH (2001) Monsanto and Intellectual Property, In “Teaching Ethics, Fall 2001”, University of Virginia Darden School Foundation, Charlottesville, VA. http://www.uvu.edu/ethics/seac/ Monsanto%20and%20Intellectual%20 Property.pdf; accessed 18 Feb 2013. 3. Center for Food Safety & Save Our Seeds (2013) Gene Giants vs. U.S. Farmers. http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/ wp-content/uploads/2013/02/SeedGiants_final.pdf; accessed 18 Feb 2013 4. Waltz E (2009) Under wraps. Nature Biotechnology 27 (10): 880 – 882. http://www.emilywaltz.com/Biotech_ crop_research_restrictions_Oct_2009. pdf, accessed 18 Feb 2013 5. Sappington TW, Ostlie KR, DiFonzo C, Hibbard BE, Kurpke CH, Porter P, Pueppke S, Shields EJ and Tollefson JJ (2010) Conducting public-sector research on commercialized transgenic seed. GM Crops 1 (2): 55 – 58. http:// image: thefoodlabelmovement.org

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Eric Hoffman, p. 13 1. Hylton, Wils S. “Craig Venter’s Bugs Might Save the World.” New York Times 30 May 2012 2. “What Is GMO?” The Non-GMO Project, <http://www.nongmoproject. org/learn-more/what-is-gmo/>. 3. “Global Market for Synthetic Biology to Grow to $10.8 Billion by 2016.” BCC Research, Nov. 2011. 4. Fehrenbacher, Katie. “Monsanto Backs Algae Startup Sapphire Energy.”

Phil Bereano, p. 16 1. http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/our-failing-food-system/ genetic-engineering/failure-to-yield.html 2. http://nature.berkeley.edu/~miguelalt/what_is_agroecology.html 3. http://www.conservation.org/newsroom/

GeneWatch 33

GeneWatch Vol. 26 No. 1  

Genetics in Agriculture

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