Science: The Importance of Being Blue

New genetically altered bacteria may lead to safer testing

* It has been a year of dramatic progress and turbulence for scientists experimenting for the first time outside the lab with genetically engineered bacteria. This past April, California scientists made the first outdoor tests of ice-minus, a bacterium genetically altered to retard frost formation on leaves. Only four months later, Montana State University Professor Gary Strobel created a national outcry when it became known that he had flouted strict federal regulations by failing to get approval before injecting elm trees with bacteria designed to combat Dutch elm disease. This week Clemson University scientists, mindful of public fears about the escape...