Daniel Grushkin

Big Idea: Fighting Hunger With Ancient Genetic Engineering Techniques (Discover)

in 1994 Howarth Bouis stood before potential donors at a conference in Maryland and unveiled his plan for combating malnutrition in the developing world. Bouis, an economist at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), envisioned impoverished farmers in Africa and South Asia growing staple crops that are enriched in key nutrients like iron, zinc, and vitamin A. His presentation had the audience hooked—until he said he would accomplish the feat via old-fashioned plant breeding techniques.