A descriptive term used by some for seeds that have been genetically engineered to produce a crop whose first generation produces sterile seeds, thus preventing a second generation from being grown from seeds saved from the first. This technology (currently 3 to 5 years from commercial application) was developed under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement between the Agricultural Research Service and a private seed company. Supporters of the technology state that it is a way to build patent protection directly into high-value, genetically engineered crop varieties and thus recoup high research investment costs. Opponents are concerned that the technology could have harmful environmental and public health effects and argue that it would have an inequitable impact on farmers in developing countries who rely on saved seed for replanting and for developing locally adapted varieties.
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