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Tobacco Plants Will Now Make Vaccines

Darpa, the Pentagon’s research and development branch, has awarded $40 million to Texas A&M University and pharmaceutical manufacturer G-Con to develop a method for producing vaccines by growing them in tobacco.

Scientists are engineering bacteria that will carry flu markers into Nicotiana benthamiana tobacco plants, which will then create flu protein. Technicians grind up the leaves to extract the protein.

Popular Science reports:

“As plant-grown medicines gain industry popularity, this particular species of tobacco could dominate the market. Like its cash-crop cousin, it’s fast-growing and cheap.”

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