Although dozens of foundation-funded activist groups have loudly warned of a global meltdown over transgenic foods, American farmers see the demand for biotech crops booming. In some cases, acreage sown with genetically improved seed is a solid majority. American Soy Association president Tony Anderson told CNN, “We’ve got a product that’s safe, it’s good for the environment, and it allows us to be even more efficient on the farm.”

The revolution in plant genetics is providing new sources of food for the Third World, and is also giving doctors whole new delivery systems for vaccines and other drugs. Imagine a banana that is grown with extra Vitamin B12, or a bottle of apple juice that can vaccinate toddlers against certain viruses. Vitamin-A-packed “golden rice” may turn out to be just the beginning.