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Monsanto a focus of U.S. antitrust investigation

Thursday, October 8, 2009 | 4:07 p.m. CDT; updated 4:17 p.m. CDT, Thursday, October 8, 2009

ST. LOUIS — Monsanto Co. says the Justice Department is investigating whether it violated antitrust rules in trying to expand its dominance of the market for genetically engineered crops.

The department's investigation of Monsanto is part of a previously announced inquiry into consolidation in the seed industry. It focuses on the company's licensing agreements with seed companies.

St. Louis-based Monsanto is the world's biggest seed company, and its patented genes are inserted into a majority of U.S. corn and soybean crops. Critics say Monsanto has used its market clout to squeeze competitors.

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to confirm or deny the investigation.


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