Brave New Farm

The first commercial products bred by genetic engineering incur a backlash in Europe, where Frankenstein fears run deep

You may drive out Nature with a pitchfork, yet she will always hasten back. --Horace, Epistles

Pitchforks? Nowadays we use guns. A so-called gene gun using gold bullets has become one of the standard methods for rewriting nature's codes. Pellets coated with DNA are fired into the chromosomes of a plant that biotech engineers wish to alter in some amazing way. Then, after patient cultivation to bring out the inserted trait, a prodigy is born. The transformed crop may be corn or cotton with a built-in insecticide, tomatoes that retain their fresh-picked texture on the shelf, or wheat with extra gluten,...

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