An `Immune System' Booster For Food Crops

Scientists at the U. S. Agriculture Dept. are trying to help some key food crops that are being munched on mount a chemical defense against insects, much as the human immune system rouses itself to fight off microbes. Scientist Ann C. Smigocki of the Agricultural Research Service has built a gene out of two elements: DNA that acts as an on/off switch and a natural gene in plants that produces cytokinin, a chemical that caterpillars dislike.

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