Our mission at Harris Moran is to be
the most trusted source of vegetable seed products to the
professional vegetable grower. To accomplish this, we conduct one
of the largest full-scale conventional breeding programs in the
industry. Breeding better vegetable varieties is the very core of
About Our Breeding and Variety Development Programs
As a leader in the vegetable seed industry, we devote
significant resources to our variety research and development
programs. The focus of this work is good, old-fashioned plant
breeding. Simply stated, that means our breeders make controlled
crosses of varieties and lines, grow the new plants and select the
best for further refinement and commercialization.
At Harris Moran, we’ve been breeding this way for more than 145
years and it remains the focus of our research activity. We so
strongly believe traditional plant breeding will continue to be
the basis for better varieties well into the future; we devote
more than 85% of our research budget to doing just this.
A (very) Quick History of Plant Breeding
Plant Breeding and developing new varieties is as old as
civilization. In fact, some anthropologists contend that selecting
better plant varieties from their wild ancestors is the basis of
agriculture and the human skill that made civilization possible.
Plant breeding has changed a lot in the last 8,000 to 10,000 years
and for the last 14 decades, Harris Moran has done its best to
adapt and implement these important improvements.
Today, hybrids are a significant part of the seed business and
consistently deliver better food to consumers and better yields to
growers worldwide. Over time, many other scientific innovations
have led to the development of new and better varieties. A
delicious example is Seedless (triploid) watermelon, which uses
techniques for doubling the chromosome number in one of the parent
lines and then making hybrid seed for planting use.
Beyond the Imagination
These and other scientific innovations have driven our industry
in the past and will continue to drive the breeding of better seed
varieties in the future. But as important as these scientific
developments are, they remain tools to supplement the basic
methods of plant breeding. Today, thanks to 25 years of worldwide
development by public and private researchers, we have a broad new
set of breeding tools collectively called biotechnology.
For the first time, these technologies allow Plant Breeders to
work beyond the plant and cellular level, and to work directly at
the molecular level.
Our Work with Biotechnology
Harris Moran and our parent company, Groupe Limagrain, will
continue to invest in the development of all biotechnology. We
will explore every new opportunity for use of these technologies
in our breeding programs, products and markets. In addition, we
will employ these techniques of modern biotechnology in our
business as appropriate.
Today Harris Moran employs many advanced techniques to assist
and improve the classic plant breeding work that is the core of
our business. One example is the use of Molecular Markers to allow
the identification of specific genes and plant traits. Our
breeders use markers to assist in selection of new plant lines
with important characteristics, our plant pathologist use markers
to identify plant diseases and our quality assurance folks use
markers to help insure the seed you buy is true to type - truly
versatile and valuable technology.
Another technique is the use of tissue culture to develop new
inbred parents. This allows our plant breeders more control over
line development and allows the testing of new hybrid varieties
faster and more efficiently. What it means to seed users is more
varieties with the specific qualities they need for market
A Hot Debate
Harris Moran, like others in the seed business, has been
conducting research in the very promising area of biotechnology
for the last decade. Today, like many in agriculture, we have been
surprised by the bitter debate surrounding one aspect of
biotechnology, namely "transgenic" products (also called GMOs -
Genetically Modified Organisms). This debate is now strong enough
we feel the need to clarify our company’s position on the use of
biotechnology and transgenes to breed new seed varieties.
Transgenic Varieties: Not to be Ignored!
As breeders, producers and marketers of new, value-added
vegetable varieties, we believe the use of transgenic methods has
significant value. As a tool in our breeding programs, this
technology will aid in development of better food products and
agricultural methods for growers, consumers and the environment.
With appropriate care, we believe the use of this technology is
safe and environmentally sound. We have full confidence in the
safety of our research methods and in the regulations developed by
the USDA, EPA and FDA to insure the safe use of GMO’s in the
The Specifics of Marketing Transgenic Vegetable Varieties
Harris Moran will only market transgenic products with full
knowledge of our customers and in unison with all government
regulations and the marketplace. We acknowledge that acceptance of
transgenic products by Consumers, Food Distributors, Food
Processors and Growers will be a key requirement in our decision
to market transgenic seed varieties. Where valuable new transgenic
products exist alongside different levels of market acceptance, we
will organize our business to meet the needs of each market where
Operations – Seed Production and Quality Assurance
To make sure our customers receive the quality of seed they
require, Harris Moran has implemented additional procedures to
insure clear segregation and traceability of our seed products.
This allows Harris Moran to comply with the increased
legislative and market based standards for seed (including those
for transgenic and non-transgenic seed purity) as a normal part of
Through a comprehensive quality assurance program, these
operational procedures address both the areas of Research use
and Production use and provide for the necessary controls in
order to maintain appropriate levels of seed purity.
Our Ethical Standards
Harris Moran Seed Company will respect and comply with all
rules, regulations and laws regarding new technologies and new
varieties in each country where we market or grow our seed
products. Should Harris Moran not be able to comply with local
regulations, we will not use or sell traditional or transgenic
products that do not meet these specifications. Supplying seed
that meets or exceeds all market requirements remains fundamental
to your business and to ours.