In 1998, scientists developed the Technology Protection System
which was a
genetic technology that ensured that crops could only produce
sterile seeds. Now known as Genetic Use Restriction Technology
(GURT), the companies and government agencies who originally developed the
have since pledged never to commercialise GURT in response to widespread
opposition from many sectors of the community.
questions should be asked:
- How does GURT work?
- Who is responsible for GURT?
- Is GURT ethical?
- Is GURT safe?
From a scientific standpoint, this technology is amazing, but the potential
for it to be abused is considerable. Throughout this website,
Dr. Adam Dimech
look at Genetic Use Restriction Technology and the implications of its use.
A good starting point for this website is wheat.
Wheat. Photo by Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maíz y Trigo (CIMMYT
used under a
Creative Commons licence
) is a staple. It feeds billions of people worldwide. It is
also one of Australia's biggest export crops.
Think about what would
happen if someone produced a variety of wheat (or other crop) that would
only produce sterile seeds? What if the farmer were compelled to buy new
seed annually as a result? Think about the potential power that company or
government owning that technology would have. In the case of the Technology
Protection System (TPS) or Genetic Use Restriction Technology (GURT), that
power rests with the United States Department of
) and Delta & Pine Land Company (D&PL, now owned by
Concerns have been raised about the risk of
genetic contamination of wild populations resulting from the use of GURT.
There have also been concerns expressed about the commercial availability of non-GURT
seed would be significantly reduced if the technology is commercialised by
seed companies. The possible dissolution of farmers’ rights to collect and
sow their own seed in both third-world and developed nations including
Australia, through patents and Plant Breeders’ Rights is another important
issue surrounding the technology.
This website is all about
exploring the science behind GURT. All statements and claims are fully
referenced, so you can verify the accuracy of what has been written, or seek
further information if neccisary. Key scientists involved with the
development of 'Termintator technology' were contacted about aspects of the