Monsanto gets Justice Dept. request for more data

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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Monsanto says the Justice Department has requested information on its soybean traits business, as the government continues to look into how it grants access to certain genes used to grow the bulk of corn and soybean crops in the U.S.

The world’s biggest seed developer says the government wants to ensure that farmers and seed companies will continue to have access to the first-generation Roundup Ready trait once its patent expires in 2014.

Last month, an Associated Press investigation uncovered contracts showing that the St. Louis company’s business practices squeeze competitors and protect its dominance over the genetically altered crops market.

Monsanto Co.’s chief council says its practices are “fair, pro-competitive and in compliance with the law.”