Biology in the Laboratory

A Look at a Genetics Lab

What is terminator gene technology?

This is a method of biotechnology in which crops that are bioengineered for a specific desirable trait (such as drought resistance) would contain a lethal gene that would cause any seeds produced by the plant to be nonviable (not capable of developing another plant). The lethal gene could be activated by spraying with a solution sold by the same company that originally marketed the bioengineered plant. Thus, the plants would still provide seeds with nutritional value, but these seeds could not be used to produce new plants. This technique would allow companies to control the product’s genes so that they would not spread into the general plant population, and seeds would have to be purchased by the grower for each season.


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