Seed engineering, like stem-cell research, may alter the very nature of nature. Despite good intentions, there is always an equal and opposite reaction in nature. Science is altering the seed of man. Let us hope that tomorrow, man is not born with multiple heads.
Last summer, a pack of hybrid sunflower seeds was placed in the warm soil of Brooklyn. Black and white shells encrusted with edible pods were scattered within graffiti rows, next to pieces of glass from shattered beer bottles and other artifacts from generations that passed through the ghetto and spent time in back lots and yards.
The seeds were genetically engineered as – hybrids– and produced sunflowers eight feet tall with giant heads, like that of man.
Not all harvested seeds were eaten during the winter of last year. Some were planted again in the warm, dark soils of Kings County; no longer hybrid seeds, but containing the genetic map of a man- made stem.
The plants grew taller– almost nine feet the second year– but multiple heads, tiny flowers, bloom at ten-feet heights, rather than one big head.
Perfect for squirrels, the deformed hybrid plants serve a new purpose. They bow their heads and are eaten as if by bushy-tailed bumble bees in the garden that never sleeps.