In my bio-engineered genetic garden, I grow lots of things you've surely never seen. There are rows of buttermelons and strawmatoes And radioactive, light-emitting beans. The cucumbers and carrots grow pre-pickled. The apples are all zebra striped and speckled. There are peanuts that have fifty nuts per shell. There's a giant grape the size of a hotel. I have some blue bananas that lay eggs, And all my jumping pumpkins have 2 legs. My pineapples are always singing songs To help the peppers grow to 10 feet long. Our visitors will get more than they bargained. Come taste the fruits of my genetic garden. -B.C. Byron
A poem about genetically modified plants? Of course! Besides being an obvious subject for poetry, bioengineering is one of the coolest technologies of our modern world. We’re still leagues away from growing grapes the size of a hotel, but some genetically modified crops do produce a ton more food per plant than unmodified plants. Look up a superhero named Norman Borlaug if you want to know more about the good modern food engineering can do. This guy won a Nobel Prize for making special wheat that could grow bigger and better around the world. His genetic garden saved millions of people from starvation. That’s a heck of a lot better than my striped apples (they taste like zebra sweat), or pre-pickled cucumbers.
Like all technology, we have to be careful how genetic engineering is used. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t feel right about carving jack-o-lanterns out of jumping pumpkins (okay, these are not a real thing). There have been varieties of corn that aren’t safe for humans to eat and some cases where the vitamins get taken out of fruits to get them to grow bigger. But think about it. Is everything on the internet good for people? Are cell phones really good for our social skills? There is good and bad with every world-changing invention, but if we think ahead about these things we can design them to do more good than harm.
Thanks for reading. I need to headout to the yard to gather banana eggs and churn the buttermelons.