Conducting public-sector research on commercialized transgenic seed: in search of a paradigm that works.

Thomas W. Sappington, Kenneth R. Ostlie, Christina Difonzo, Bruce E. Hibbard, Christian H. Krupke, Patrick Porter, Steven Pueppke, Elson J. Shields, Jon J. Tollefson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Public-sector scientists have a mandate to independently evaluate agricultural products available to American farmers on the open market, whereas the companies that sell the products must protect their intellectual property.  However, as a consequence of the latter concern, public scientists currently are prohibited by industry-imposed restrictions from conducting research on commercialized transgenic seed without permission of the company.  Industry acknowledged the seriousness of the problem after public warnings by a large group of entomologists to EPA and scientific advisory panels that the assumption of independence of public-sector studies on these products is no longer valid under current restrictions.  Both industry and public scientists are working to find an amicable, mutually-acceptable solution.  Recently, the American Seed Trade Association brokered a draft set of principles designed to protect the legitimate property rights of companies while allowing public scientists independence to conduct most types of research on their commercialized products without the need for case-by-case agreements.  While there are a number of potential pitfalls in implementation of the principles across companies, this effort represents a major step forward, and there is reason for optimism that this approach can be made to work to the benefit of industry, public scientists, and the American public.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-58
Number of pages4
JournalGM crops
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2010


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