Hybrids

Terminator seeds are not the same as hybrid seeds, because hybrid seeds are not sterile. A hybrid variety refers to the offspring of two parental plants that differ from one another in one or more genes. Hybrids in the second generation show reduced vigour and fail to “breed true” so there is less benefit for farmers to save hybrid seeds for sowing the following year. As a result, farmers are inclined to purchase new seed annually if they wish to continue using that particular hybrid cultivar. There is, however, no biological mechanism preventing them from using hybrid seeds in breeding programmes of their own.