The Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) decided in 2000 that there should be a precautionary approach in field testing and commercial development of Genetic Use Restriction Technologies (GURTs).
‘Terminator seeds’ are one example of plants that could potentially be bred using these technologies. The decision is clear that products incorporating GURTs should not be approved for field testing until appropriate scientific data can justify such testing, and for commercial use until appropriate scientific assessments with regard to ecological and socio-economic impacts have been carried out and the conditions for their safe and beneficial use validated.
At the most recent CBD meeting, held in March 2006, governments reaffirmed this decision. We supported the decision. The UK Government’s position has not changed on this issue.
My Department has not commissioned any recent research on the potential effects of “Terminator seed” technology on UK agriculture.
We commissioned a desk study of Technologies for Biological Containment of Genetically Modified (GM) and non-GM Crops. The report is available on the DEFRA website.