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Toting Up the Early Harvest Of Transgenic Plants

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Science  18 Dec 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5397, pp. 2176-2178
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5397.2176

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Fifteen years after researchers began trying to create new strains of plants by engineering them with foreign genes, they can count several successes, but have hit snags in some efforts. The successes largely involve transfers of single genes, including genes that make crop plants resistant to insect pests, diseases, or herbicides. Last season at least 30 million hectares worldwide were planted with such crops. Also looking promising are efforts aimed at inducing plants to make edible vaccines or monoclonal antibodies. More complex gene transfers, such as efforts to transform conventional crop plants into factories for plastics or a "natural" cotton/polyester blend, are running into trouble, however.