Where do the genes used in your seed modifications come from?

Each week, we will answer a question from our readers regarding our operations and community outreach in the State of Hawaii. Submit your question by visiting the contact page. Thanks for reading. Mahalo!

Q: I've heard claims that Monsanto engages in bio-piracy to acquire pure genes for the Genetic Modification process.  Where do the genes used in your seed modifications come from?

A: We have acquired genes in several different ways – and always through legally appropriate and compliant means. For example, we may acquire genes through a legal agreement with a third party, through public or private depositories, through the acquisition of a company, or by collecting samples in nature in compliance with national and international laws and treaties. The characterizations of our conduct as illegal and accusations of bio-piracy are baseless.

In addition, we make our innovations widely available through licenses and donations to projects like Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA, www.wema.aatf-africa.org). We support the principles underpinning international regimes aimed at conserving biological diversity and sustainably using its components.  And, we agree there should be fair and equitable sharing of the benefits derived from the utilization of biological diversity.