Lords of the Harvest
| Price: $ 27
Once confined to the research laboratory, the genetic engineering of plants is now a big business that is changing the face of modern agriculture. Giant corporations are creating designer crops with strange powers-from cholesterol-reducing soybeans to plants that act as miniature drug factories, churning out everything from vaccines to insulin. They promise great benefits: better health for consumers, more productive agriculture-even an end to world hunger. But the vision has a dark side, one of profit-driven tampering with life and the possible destruction of entire ecosystems. In Lords of the Harvest, Daniel Charles takes us deep inside research labs, farm sheds, and corporate boardrooms to reveal the hidden story behind this agricultural revolution. He tells how a handful of scientists at Monsanto drove biotechnology from the lab into the field, and how the company's opponents are fighting back with every tool available to them, including the cynical manipulation of public fears. A dramatic account of boundless ambition, political intrigue, and the quest for knowledge, Lords of the Harvest is ultimately a story of idealism and of conflicting dreams about the shape of a better world.
Science reporter Daniel Charles has been a technology correspondent for National Public Radio and the Washington correspondent for New Scientist. He has covered the misadventures of the Mir space station, earthquakes in India, nuclear smuggling in Germany, and the frontiers of technology. He lives in Washington, D.C.
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