The Seeds Of Ignorance

The problem of convincing Congress to fund plant research mentioned in "Genome Mapping Progress Catapults Plant Research" (Scott Veggeberg, The Scientist, Feb. 22, 1993, page 13) has caused a "downward spiral in basic plant-biology research and training," according to the National Research Council's 1992 report Plant Biology Research and Training for the 21st Century (National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.).

One likely reason for the lack of support for plant biology is the widespread ignorance about our dependence on plants and photosynthesis for food, oxygen, beverages, the ozone layer, clothing, fossil fuels, biomass fuels, wood, paper, medicines, plastics, perfumes, photographic film, ink, paint, flowers, lawns, shade trees, and so forth. Such ignorance is encouraged by the lack of plant coverage in biology courses, due to what W.M. Darley, writing in the American Biology Teacher (52:354-7, 1990), termed "animal chauvinism." One popular high school...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?