Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Genetic Research Data Will Double Annually

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Genetic Research Data Will Double Annually

Article excerpt

Just as the semiconductor industry has Moore's Law, in which computer chips double in power every 18 months, the Monsanto Company has discovered what it calls Monsanto's Law for biotechnology. It goes like this:

"The amount of genetic information used in practical applications will double every year or two."

Already, the company's researchers have made impressive strides transplanting single genes into various crops. Now, they're beginning to insert multiple genes, creating more nutritious foods and better fibers.

Progress is rapid partly because plant geneticists are able to use techniques already developed for human genetics research.

Another reason: The technology is cheaper. In 1974, it cost Monsanto $2.5 million to determine the chemical structure of a single gene. Today, it costs $150.

Although the work remains difficult - it can take 10,000 gene transfers to create a single plant ready for field trial - scientists are finding new ways to use the technology. …

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