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ScienceShot: Remembering a Man Who Saved Millions

25 March 2013 1:00 pm
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USDA

A father of the Green Revolution, Norman Borlaug would have been 99 years old today. In honor of his lifelong quest to bring the fruits of research to farmers around the world, Science is providing free access for 3 weeks to a feature story about his life and work. Improvising in an abandoned field station in Mexico, Borlaug developed new varieties of wheat that could resist a devastating fungal disease—clashing with bureaucrats along the way. The wheat proved crucial to preventing famine in Asia, where it fed hundreds of millions of people. When Borlaug was in his 90s, a new and highly virulent type of the fungus emerged from Uganda. Cajoling funders and inspiring researchers, Borlaug led the fight against this grave threat. By the time he died, in 2009, researchers had developed 15 varieties of high-yielding wheat that can resist the new disease. The Famine Fighter's Last Battle also appeared in The Best American Science Writing 2010.

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