Chapter

Wonderful Potencies?

William Boyd

in Engineering Trouble

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2003 | ISBN: 9780520237612
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520937499 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520237612.003.0002
Wonderful Potencies?

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This chapter explores the transformation of agricultural breeding efforts under the influence of modern genetics and molecular biology. It addresses the legal developments that have allowed both for the transformation of “novel” life forms and genetic sequences into new forms of property and for the reconfiguration of relationships between public and private science. The chapter then examines the organizational strategy employed by Monsanto and other first-movers to create a vertically integrated structure capable of capturing the economic value associated with these new forms of property through the acquisition of key germplasm resources, seed-delivery systems, and horizontal and vertical licensing arrangements. Chakrabarty, Cohen-Boyer, and Bayh-Dole represented a new legal infrastructure for the agricultural biotechnology complex. Leading firms, particularly Monsanto and DuPont, acquired major seed companies and developed a system of contract farming tailored to the new biotech crops.

Keywords: agricultural breeding; modern genetics; molecular biology; Chakrabarty; Cohen-Boyer; Bayh-Dole; agricultural biotechnology; Monsanto; DuPont; genetic sequences

Chapter.  17598 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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