Providing the first account of the story behind genetically engineered plants, Paul F. Lurquin covers the controversial birth of the field, its sudden death, phoenixlike reemergence, and ultimate triumph as not only a legitimate field of science but a new tool of multinational corporate interests. In addition, Lurquin looks ahead to the potential impact this revolutionary technology will have on human welfare.
As Lurquin shows, it was the intense competition between international labs that resulted in the creation of the first transgenic plants. Two very different approaches to plant genetic engineering came to fruition at practically the same time, and Lurquin's account demonstrates how cross-fertilization between the two areas was critical to success. The scientists concerned were trying to tackle some very basic scientific problems and did not foresee the way that corporations would apply their methodology. With detailed accounts of the work of individual scientists and teams all over the world, Lurquin pieces together a remarkable account.
Lurquin's book is the first to describe accurately the history of plant genetic engineering. For students labouring at the bench and getting frustrated at the lack of reproducibility of their experiments, reading this work will provide reassurance. Even scientists who are no longer at the bench... will find it an important reminder that research is a demanding task, with much disappointment and controversy, and few successes. Nature