GM Foods Grow Up

With help from robots and new genetic tricks, farmers could feed the planet while dodging the controversy

12 min read
GM Foods Grow Up
Photo: Dan Saelinger; stylist: Dominique Baynes; Food Stylist: Carol Ladd

The stalks of foxtail millet were bent under Guangdong province’s hot summer sun. The plants were heavy with seed, giving them impressively bushy “tails” that would have done any fox proud.

Archaeologists believe that people began cultivating foxtail millet in China as early as 6500 B.C.E., but the plant looked considerably different in those Neolithic days—the foxes’ tails were thin and scrawny. Nevertheless, this early cereal crop had many things going for it, and researchers believe the hardy, quick-growing millet was more common than rice in China’s arid north for millennia. But rice, with its high yield of grain, gradually won out, and the Chinese nearly forgot all about millet—until now.

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NVIDIA

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