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  Words in the News
  The American biotechnology company, Monsanto, decided not to develop 'terminator gene technology' which would sterilise seeds used by farmers, making them unusable for reproduction.
  Audio Listen to both extracts

7th October 1999

Monsanto Terminator Gene Technology

NEWS 1  

Patrick Holden, Director of the Soil Association

Obviously, I think it is a step in the right direction but I think they know in their heart of hearts that this isn't the end of the matter. I think they know that what is likely to happen in America is that public opinion is going to echo what's already happened in Europe and obviously to say no to the terminator technology is their way of trying to stem the tide but I don't think it's going to work. I think that it's an extraordinary victory for public opinion over corporate might. And obviously it's going to take a while and I think countries like China could be more difficult but in a few years time it's not going to be in commercial use any more. from


a step in the right direction: a series of actions or one of a series of stages that is necessary in order to arrive at a particular goal

heart of hearts: to know something in your heart of hearts is to know it inwardly or secretly

terminator technology: new biological technology which changes the genes in seeds so that the plants they produce cannot reproduce themselves

corporate might: the power and strength of big companies

stem the tide: to stop the progress of the movement opposing this technology

NEWS 2  

Andrew Sims from Christian Aid

Monsanto's announcement seems to be a major u-turn for the industry - an awful lot had been invested in the new technology despite the fact that organisations like Christian Aid thought it was a regressive step. We saw it as the worst example of the mis-appliance of the new science. So the announcement that they have decided to move away from the terminator technology or the so-called suicide seed is a good thing.


a major u-turn: literally a u-turn is when you turn your vehicle around and go back in the direction that you came from. In this case, the u-turn refers to the fact that the company has abandoned its policy and is now going along a different path.

a regressive step: an action which takes you backwards instead of forwards

mis-appliance of the new science: the 'appliance of science' was a slogan used by a washing machine manufacturer to show that their technology was the most up-to-date. The mis-appliance of the new science implies that the technology is being used inappropriately.

so-called : commonly known or referred to as

suicide seed: genetically modified seed which is sterile

    Read about the background in BBC News Online

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