GENETIC ENGINEERING BREAKTHROUGH
University of California (San Diego) scientists have
discovered a process by which they turn leaves into petals.
A rose by any other name, may no longer be a rose.
The leaves between thorns may one day be replaced by
miniature multi-colored blooms.
The cover story of the February issue of
"Current Biology" includes Martin Yanofsky's
publication. (The research was sponsored by
grants from the National Science Foundation,
the National Institutes of Health and the U.S.
Department of Agriculture.)
A typical stalk of corn only grows one ear of corn.
Scientists have speculated that one day the
technology could exist to increase that yield
to six ears per plant.
Biotechnology produces surprises. Genetically
engineered soy plants produce changes in
soy protein, genisten. What will be the response
of the corn plant, itself? Is there an internal wisdom
within that plant to detect the change, and limit the plant's
ability to reproduce itself (reasoning that too many
kernals would compete for soil and fertilizer
for next year's plants). Change can be dynamic.
Change can be dangerous.
Who shall eat the new corn?
THE ANSWER IS BLOWING IN THE WIND
What may happen with the pollen from this corn?
The answer might make from some very un-dandy
dandelions. Imagine multi-stalked weeds with the
ability to produce multi-seeds. Imagine fields
of goldenrod, filling the air with pollen next fall.
Imagine more pesticides needed to treat virile
strains of weeds that grow from wingspread
One hopes that researchers carefully test these
new plants, and that regulators rigorously
review their research.
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