JARNE ELLEHOLM: Saving Lives And Limbs With a Weed

Jarne Elleholm is trying to get a genetically modified weed to grow bigger to potentially save thousands of lives

Jarne Elleholm, CEO of Aresa is trying to get thale-cress, a 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.

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 leaches into the soil from unexploded...

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