Ecological Risks of “Genetic Use Restriction Technologies” (GURTs) in crop plants under the perspective of biodiversity

Genetic use restriction technologies (GURTs) have been developed to restrict the use of genes and seeds according to the needs of seed companies and to prevent replanting and reproduction of protected seeds by farmers and to protect single traits of transgenic plants. Various toxin genes, induction and recombination systems can be used. GURTs would impact agriculture negatively, in particular systems that rely on replanting and exchange of seeds and would endanger agricultural biodiversity. Certain GURT types are thought to act as biological containment measures and to inhibit gene transfer and the germination of volunteers of transgenic plants. But the very complex GURT systems are not reliable enough to prevent undesirable gene spread in the long run. In 2000, the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity decided there should be a moratorium for the release and placing on the market of GURTs which was confirmed in 2006.