Monsanto’s GMO seed patents may be expiring, but Wired says it won’t damage the evil empire of agribusiness:
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FOR TWENTY YEARS, the agro-tech company Monsanto has been making life difficult for farmers. Well, first the company made it easy: Its genetically modified seeds allowed crops to thrive in the presence of pesticides, dramatically increasing farmers’ yields. But those so-called Roundup Ready seeds came with a caveat: Because their pesticide resistance genes were patented, farmers had to shell out cash to Monsanto every year, instead of potentially reusing the seeds that their crops produced.
Now, Monsanto’s reign is (seemingly) beginning to end. Earlier this year, the patent on Monsanto’s Roundup Ready soybean expired. For the first time ever, farmers can sow generic genetically modified soybeans, and they can save the next generation of these seeds to replant next season—all without paying Monsanto a penny. With Monsanto’s genetic property up for grabs, universities developing their own seed strains are entering the soybean market.