Uncertain Peril: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Seeds

By Claire Hope Cummings | Go to book overview

EPILOGUE

The Seeded Earth

The old warnings still have power to scare me:
Hubris comes to an ugly finish,
Irreverence is a greater oaf than Superstition.

W. H. AUDEN


The Garden of Eden

The story of the Garden of Eden is one of the most powerful stories ever told. All the children of Abraham—Christians, Muslims, and Jews—are taught the creation story in the biblical Book of Genesis. Its influence is unparalleled in the history of human life on earth. The way it's usually told is that in the beginning, there were seven days of creation. On the third day, the seeded earth was created. God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit, according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth.”

After all life on earth was created, Genesis says, the Creator then “planted a garden east of Eden” with every tree “good for food” and “pleasant to the sight.” Two trees are specifically mentioned, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life. What happened next is well known. Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and were expelled from the garden.

But something else happens at that point in the story, something that is less well known but no less dramatic. In the Genesis

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Uncertain Peril: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Seeds
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • A Note on the Terminology ix
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction xv
  • The Rise of the Techno-Elites 1
  • One - Trade Secrets 3
  • Two - Trespass 23
  • Three - Political Science 45
  • Four - The Ownership Society 65
  • The Turning Points 85
  • Five - Who Owns Rice? 87
  • Six - The Botany of Scarcity 106
  • Seven - The Botany of Abundance 128
  • A Green Wealth 145
  • Eight - Ripe for Change 147
  • Nine - A Conversation with Corn 163
  • Ten - The Down-Turned Hand 179
  • A Cabinet of Seeds Displayed 193
  • Epilogue - The Seeded Earth 195
  • Acknowledgments 206
  • Sources and Resources 209
  • Index 219
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