Genetically Modified Orgaisms (GMO) scare people. Messing with nature could have some unpleasant unforseen consequences.
Genetically altered wheat has turned up in the fields of an "organic" farmer in Oregon.
Monsanto can't sue the farmer for stealing GMO seeds, because the organic farmer would never buy GMO from anyone, especially Monsanto.
The seeds may have blown in from some distant GMO field, or got caught in agricultural machinery that was previously used on a GMO field.
The pollen from a GMO plant might well have mated with the organic wheat and produced a hybrid; this happens all the time in nature;natural plants exchange genes. Evolution totally depends on this kind of thing.
The Oregon farmer has suffered a big loss, because now he can't sell his produce as totally natural organic -- not with the possibility of more genetically modified plants turning up in his harvest.
Monsanto has determined that the Oregon genetically altered wheat contains the "Roundup-Ready" gene, developed by Monsanto. This amazing gene confers resistance to Monsanto's Roundup © herbicide. Buy Monsanto's seeds and you can spray Roundup anywhere on your fields, knowing that only the weeds and unprotected crops will be killed.
Monsanto might be able to keep people from stealing GMO seeds from them or getting the seeds from other farmers, but as long as wheat is grown in open fields where the wind blows, it is impossible to prevent GMO genes from being spread by the same natural mechanisms that spread natural genes.
Monsanto could demand that the Oregon organic farm remove all the invading GMO wheat. but this is not an easy job; it may not even be possible -- not a complete fremoval.
The organic farmer may have a basis for suing Monsanto to cover the costs of GMO removal. They could also sue to recover lost "Certified Organic" business. The uncontrolled spread of GMO wheat is an actual danger -- somebody has to be found liable.
This situation has to be resolved.
At best, non-GMO farmers will regard such accidental contamination by GMO as like an invasion of weeds. Will Monsanto develop and sell a new herbicide which selectively kills plants that have the Roundup Ready gene?
The end result of all of this might be that Monsanto has to release control of their Roundup-Ready gene and let it spread any way it will. It's either that, or Monsanto will be compelled to wipe out all their Genetically Modified Organisms, because they can't be controlled.
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