When Dr. Charles Arntzen of Arizona State University visited Thailand in 1992, he was not expecting a moment of scientific "eureka" that would redirect his career. However, after observing a young Thai mother soothing her fussy infant with bits of banana, this plant molecular biologist was struck with an idea that is both startling and ingenious. What if, in addition to quieting her child, the mother could also administer a life-saving vaccine – in the banana?
Dr. Arntzen's vision is well on its way to becoming reality, thanks to a combination of dedication and applied biotechnology. As the president emeritus of the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, founding director of the Arizona Biomedical Institute, and member of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, Arntzen is well equipped to handle the challenge he has undertaken. His breakthrough lies in forging a link between green plants, foreign DNA, and vaccines.
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