Norman Borlaug, the Man Who Saved the World from Starvation

And created the Frankenwheat we all now eat

Adelina Vasile
5 min readMay 20, 2021
Photo by Luca Huter on Unsplash

In 1950, Norman Borlaug was solicited by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Mexican government to research and develop a more productive variety of wheat. Borlaug was a brilliant American agronomist, and his contribution was supposed to save millions of people from starvation.

In some parts of the world, Mexico and an extended region of the Asian continent, there weren’t enough cereals to feed the people. The wheat they were cultivating was growing too fast, and its seeds were falling too soon.

Bourlog was eventually capable of creating a variety of wheat that was three times more productive and resistant than the one traditionally cultivated. It was the beginning of what we all know today as the Green Revolution. And the birth of Frankenwheat.

But What Is Frankenwheat, Anyway?

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

They claim that the wheat we eat today has so little in common with the one our ancestors ate. It was, after all, obtained through genetic manipulation, ending up with 42 chromosomes instead of only 14 as the ancient wheat had.



Adelina Vasile

Mother, educator, journalist, copywriter. I write about the things I need to learn myself.