Mutagenesis is a process where new strains of food and products are created using chemicals and radiation in the lab. It is much faster than the natural mutation process while being more targeted than old techniques like hybrids and grafts. In the 1970s, its successor, transgene science and genetically modified organisms (GMOs), began to be studied and by the early 1980s products began to appear. In the 1990s, the American state of Hawaiʻi approved a papaya that had been devastated by a natural virus after breeding techniques and chemicals failed to stop it. Other foods followed. When…
When Charles Dickens died, he had spectacular fame, great wealth and an adoring public. But his personal life was complicated. Separated from his wife and living in a huge country mansion in Kent, the novelist was in the thrall of his young mistress, Ellen Ternan. This is the untold story of Charles Dickens’s final hours and the furore that followed, as the great writer’s family and friends fought over his final wishes. My new research has uncovered the never-before-explored areas of the great author’s sudden death, and his subsequent burial. While details such as the presence of Ternan at…
More than two years have passed since the detection of what is arguably the most damaging tree pest ever to arrive in South Africa: the polyphagous shot hole borer (Euwallacea fornicatus). The beetle kills trees and there are no proven remedies. The beetle is now present in nearly all parts of the country and in more than 100 tree species. An invasion of this magnitude should have elicited a rapid response and the development of a strategic action plan. But that hasn’t happened. South Africa has never had to deal with a tree-killing pest of this importance before. In addition, the country has…