Norman Borlaug, the Man Who Saved the World from Starvation

And created the Frankenwheat we all now eat

Photo by Luca Huter on Unsplash

But What Is Frankenwheat, Anyway?

Frankenwheat is a term that some people — including expert researchers and doctors — apply to modern wheat.

Our Health Is in Our Forks

And as long as we don’t know what we put in our forks, we can’t be sure about our health, right?

Should We Blame Norman Borlaug for the Frankenwheat We Eat?

The developer of the wheat in our plates, who died in 2009 at 95 years old, received multiple awards for his work. Some of the most notable ones were the Congressional Gold Medal, the Presidential Medal, and even the Nobel Peace Prize.

“Up until now, the selection of some varieties of good seeds was a form of art based on the visual analysis or the analysis of the physio-chemical parameters of the plants. This art allowed us significant progress, but it has reached its limitations. To advance from this point, we need to move over that progress we have blindly achieved and to open the “black box” of the genome…. Then, once we know where the “good” genes are, first with approximation and then more precisely, by particularly identifying each gene and its role in the physiology of the plant, we will be able to cross them and generate combinations that we will no longer make blindly, but knowingly.” (source)

Basically, Feuillet tells us that the progress we have achieved so far in developing the wheat we all eat was made blindly. Researchers focused on which genes made the new plant look better leaving all the other parts in the dark.

Mother, writer, thinker. Striving to be the change I want to see in the world.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store