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The Uncertainties of Genetically Modified Seeds

            In the early 1800's the Secretary of the Treasury initiated a program requesting U. Ambassadors and military officers to gather seeds and seed data from their posts around the world. This program became more methodical in 1839 when the U.S. Patent Office established an agricultural division that began collecting seeds and launching free seed distribution programs. In 1862 the United States Department of Agriculture was established and at this time the department devoted at least one-third of its budget to collecting and distributing seeds to farmers across the country (Center for Food Safety). .
             For over two centuries the U.S. government and the U.S. Patent Office classified life forms as a product of nature and therefore excluded them from patent laws. The introduction of the Plant Patent Act of 1930 changed all of this and agricultural patenting of seeds became permissible. In 1980, a revolutionary decision changed this one step further after the ruling of the landmark Supreme Court case, Diamond v. Chakrabarty, affirming that living things have eligibility for patent protection. Chakrabarty had genetically modified a strain of bacteria with foreign genes thus giving it the ability to breakdown hydrocarbons. This modification of the bacteria's genes were made in hopes of one day using it to assist with the clean up of oil spills (Actionbioscience). Unfortunately, there still continues to be too many uncertainties and possible harmful effects to the environment when it comes to the use of this oil eating bacterium or for them to perform other kinds of "environmental bioremediation" (Masnick). .
             Genetically modified (GM) seeds are currently used for production of agricultural crops and a significant step forward in the agricultural industry. GM seeds are seeds that have been modified to contain certain characteristics such as resistance to herbicides or pests, drought resistance, increased crop yields, and nutrient enhanced foods.

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