A Collection of Articles
Edit

Biomedicine

New Green Revolution

Can an innocuous aquatic plant manufacture disease-curing proteins? Drug companies already use genetically engineered bacteria to produce therapeutic proteins such as Factor IX, a blood component that hemophiliacs lack. Others are trying to insert genes into the cells of animals so that the animals can produce specific proteins in their milk.

Anne-Marie Stomp, a professor of forestry at North Carolina State University, says humble duckweed could best both bugs and beasts. The tiny plant may top animals because it is “clonal”-it buds off copies of itself-which means genetic changes will stay intact in succeeding generations. The fast-growing plant can produce more sophisticated proteins than bacteria, says Stomp, and can thrive in an industrial setting. Stomp has started a company, Biolex, to teach the plants to secrete proteins for easy collection.

Uh oh–you've read all five of your free articles for this month.

Insider basic

$29.95/yr US PRICE

Subscribe
What's Included
  • 1 year (6 issues) of MIT Technology Review magazine in print OR digital format
  • Access to the entire online story archive: 1997-present
  • Special discounts to select partners
  • Discounts to our events

You've read of free articles this month.