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Evolution Made to Order – Plant Breeding and Technological Innovation in Twentieth-Century America - Chicago Scholarship Online
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Evolution Made to Order: Plant Breeding and Technological Innovation in Twentieth-Century America

Helen Anne Curry


In the middle decades of the twentieth century, Americans celebrated a series of strange tools as the likely harbingers of an agricultural revolution. These included x-ray devices, a toxic chemical compound called colchicine, and various radiation-generating technologies of the atomic age such as artificial radioisotopes and nuclear reactors. According to scientific and popular reports, scientists would use these mutagenic agents to generate heritable variation “at will,” which would in turn allow breeders to genetically engineer agricultural organisms “to order.” Plant breeders would no longe ... More

Keywords: biotechnology, genetic engineering, genetic technologies, mutation breeding, plant breeding, technological innovation, evolution, agricultural biotechnology

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2016 Print ISBN-13: 9780226390086
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226390116.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Helen Anne Curry, author
University of Cambridge.