Proof

Atomic Peanuts and Gamma Grapefruit

April 9, 2020

In 1927, more than 50 years before the first GMO crop hit the market, a scientist named Louis Stadler shot X-rays at barley. The result was a random mutation—a change in the color of the plant. While not particularly useful, it showed that with radiation, scientists could roll the genetic dice, press fast-forward on natural selection, and with enough rolls, maybe even uncover something new- a useful mutant. The Atomic Age would inspire a generation of scientists to blast crops with Cobalt-60 radiation. Even civilians got in on the action. But today, this type of breeding is all but forgotten. Is the possibility of an “Atomic Garden of Eden” worth the nuclear gamble?

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