Imagine The Pizzamato

In Wired's always interesting Found: Artifacts from the Future section this week, we find some genetically modified fruits and vegetables from the future. Consider the "Pizzamato."


(Pizzamato:
Exhibits characteristics of basil, garlic and oregano. Mamma mia!
)

According to the caption, pizzamatoes "Exhibit characteristics of basil, garlic and oregano." Sounds delicious!

Genetic modification can be done the old-fashioned way; consider the Sweet Wheat developed in Japan, which has naturally higher levels of sucrose and maltose than normal wheat.

If you're in a hurry to add new characteristics, direct modification of DNA seems to be an increasingly popular technique. Not everyone is happy with the outcome; read more about the Terminator Seed Ban Proposed In Canada.

My original thought in looking at the Wired picture was that this "pizzamato" is exactly what the Little People in Methuselah's Children, the 1941 Heinlein novel, did for the human settlers on their planet.

[One of the Little People] indicated to Lazarus that he wanted him to eat.

Lazarus was not particularly hungry but he felt compelled to humor such friendliness, so he plucked and ate.

He almost choked in his astonishment. Mashed potatoes and brown gravy!

". . . didn't we get it right? - . ." came an anxious thought.

"Bub," Lazarus said solemnly, "I don't know what you planned to do, but this is just fine!"
(Read more about genetically modified food)

The first reference in sf to the idea of genetic modification to create new organisms (as far as I know) is found in Seeds of Dusk, a 1937 short story by Raymond Z. Gallun.

Their approach to problems is different from our own. No metals. No machines as we know them. But in hidden compartments in their tissues it was easy for them to create the bacteria of death! They invented those bacteria, and grew them, breaking them away from their own substance.
(Read more about Gallun's designed bacteria)

Be sure to check out the whole picture at Artifacts from the Future.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 8/13/2007)

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