Monsanto is the world's leading producer of GE seeds - about 70 percent of all GE crops grown worldwide derive from Monsanto technology.
Monsanto produces Roundup Ready soy and cotton, Agent Orange and recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone.
The company was purchased by Pharmacia in March 2000, but in
late 2001 Pharmacia announced that it would divest itself of
Monsanto's agbiotech operations, which would retain the Monsanto
name and operate independently. Prior to the Pharmacia merger,
Monsanto had similarly divested itself of its chemicals division,
which became the company now known as Solutia. By spinning off
Solutia. Monsanto is attempting to evade
responsibility for decades of its toxic operations.
As it did with toxic chemicals, the "new" Monsanto is putting GE
foods on the market without concern for the potential health or
environmental risks. Monsanto's "Roundup Ready" brand crops are
genetically engineered to tolerate high doses of its best selling
product - the toxic weed killer Roundup (glyphosate). Roundup Ready
crops currently include soy, corn, canola and cotton, and Monsanto
is trying to bring more Roundup Ready crops to market, including
wheat and rice.
Monsanto owns or is affiliated with
the largest seed developers and research companies all over the
- Calgene - Biotechnology company responsible for the Flavr Savr
Tomato, the first GE crop marketed in the United States. Calgene
also developed technology used in GE cotton and canola.
- DeKalb Seed Company - has 11 percent of the U.S. corn seed
market; Hybritech Seed International, a leading United States-based
wheat seed producer, was formed by Monsanto from DeKalb's wheat
- Holden's Foundation Seeds - 35 percent of U.S. corn acres are
grown from seed produced with Holden genetics, that focuses on
"value-added" traits, such as high-oil production or insect
resistance (produced by adding a toxin gene). Companies like DuPont
and Plant Genetic Systems (Bt corn developers) purchase the parent
seeds from Holden and then develop the crops.
- Asgrow Seed Company - produces Monsanto's soybean seeds (Asgrow
Vegetable Seeds remains part of Mexico's Savia, owner of Seminis
Vegetable Seeds (one of the largest seed producers in the world).
Monsanto, does, however, maintain a collaborative relationship with
Seminis to produce GE vegetables).
- First Line Seeds - a Canadian soybean seed company.
- Plant Breeding International Cambridge (PBIC) - which has
established breeding programs for several crops, including winter
wheat, barley, oilseed rape and potatoes. PBIC facilities are
located in Britain, France and Germany.
- Monsoy - a leading Brazilian soybean seed supplier.
- Sementes Agroceres - a leading Brazilian corn seed
- Agracetus - a research company that is currently developing
pharmaceutical crops (pharm crops are GE crops designed to
produce a drug or other non-food product).
- Cereon Genomics - a Monsanto subsidiary focusing on plant gene
- Monsanto also bought Cargill's International (not U.S.) Seed
Division, and has a 50/50 venture with Cargill called Renessen, to
produce and distribute biotech crops (in particular, nutritionally
enhanced oilseeds) worldwide.
- Monsanto also owns, or co-owns, the Indian biotech crop
companies MAHYCO (Maharashtra Hybrid Company), EID Parry and
Rallis, and the Philippine seed company AgroSeed.
- Monsanto and Delta & Pine Land (DPL), the world's largest
cotton seed company, collaborated to bring GE cotton (Roundup Ready
herbicide resistant and insect resistant varieties) to market.
Also, DPL continues to hold the rights to sell Monsanto seed in
several countries. Due to anti-trust concerns, Monsanto was blocked
from buying DPL in 1998, but the two companies continue to
collaborate on GE cotton. In a collaboration with the USDA, DPL
also developed and holds the rights to the notorious "terminator"