Science: Revolutionary Bacteria

One of the great triumphs of modern agriculture is the Green Revolution: the development of lush new strains of wheat, rice and other cereals that have made the difference between starvation and survival for millions of people. Yet a drawback to the new high-yield plants is that they require large quantities of expensive nitrogen-rich fertilizers that drain into ponds and lakes. There, the fertilizers cause explosive growth of algae and make the water unfit for drinking and other uses.

Now, scientists at Britain's University of Sussex have developed a genetic engineering technique that may eventually reduce the dependence on artificial fertilizers. In...

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