|Bugs, weeds, houseplants could join the war on terror|
by Laughing Boy at 8:59 am EDT, May 28, 2003
] When June Medford came up with the idea to use tiny weeds
] as weapons in the war against terrorism, she figured most
] people would call it a joke. But the federal government
] didn't laugh.
] Now, armed with a half million-dollar grant from the
] Pentagon, the Colorado State University plant biologist
] is trying to genetically engineer Arabidopsis plants to
] change color rapidly if they sense a biological or
] chemical agent.
] If her plan works, the technology could be used to turn
] forest evergreens, backyard shrubs or even pond algae
] into sentinels for scientists. One day, everyone in
] America might be able to use a cheap houseplant as an
] early-warning system. It could be the proverbial canary
] in a coal mine for the post-Sept. 11 age.
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