Terminator gene technology – their mechanism and consequences


The terminator technology is a genetically engineered suicide mechanism that can be triggered off by specific external stimuli. The preferred trigger is antibiotic tetracycline, which is applied to seeds. As a result of which the seeds of the next generation will self-destruct by auto-poisoning. The main version of the terminator includes a set of three novel genes inserted into one plant. However, there is another version, which divides two or three genes on to two plants that are later to be cross-pollinated. The ultimate outcome is a dead seed in the following generation. Many consider terminator technology a problem due to the fact that the top 10 largest seed companies globally control half the world’s commercial seed market. Therefore, if terminator technology is commercialized, corporations will most likely try to incorporate this technology into all of their seeds. This would secure a much stronger monopoly on the seed market compared to patents because this technology would ensure that it is impossible for farmers to re-use their once harvested seeds.

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