Saving Lives And Limbs With a Weed

GROWING: Elleholm is trying to get the genetically modified weed to grow bigger

On scrubby flatland outside copenhagen Airport, Jarne Elleholm and Carsten Meier are watching green foliage turn red. This is no autumn leaf-peeping exercise. Rather, they're keeping an eye on a swath of weeds they're growing that should turn red in the proximity of land mines. If the weeds change hues as designed, Elleholm and Meier could save thousands of lives and limbs.

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Their company, Aresa, a Copenhagen-based biotech start-up, has genetically modified a common weed called thale-cress so that its leaves turn red when the plant comes in contact with nitrogen dioxide — a compound that naturally...

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