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[This is focused on an] infographic on genetically modified organisms permitted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for field tests since 1987. This map shows where these neo-florae have been released into the environment, which institutions have applied for the permits to conduct the experiments, and what enhancements these organisms have been engineered with, for instance, drought tolerance and fungal resistance.
Having taken many joyrides over the years throughout Illinois, which according to the map has hosted many of these real world trials, we may have driven past by one or two of these plots. But we wouldn't know. Some protocols may have been set up so that no rogue environmentalists will come and uproot the plants, say, electrified fences or surveillance sensors, but perhaps the best form of quarantine is anonymity and apparent ordinariness. One passes by them oblivious, because they are as unremarkable as the next hundreds of thousands of rows of corns. But of course they're not. To once again borrow from Trevor Paglen, these are genomic dark spots in the landscape, fully alight with the Midwestern sun.
The United States and Canada do not require labeling of genetically modifed foods.
One of the things we like about this map is how the icons pop in and out, sometimes massing together and swelling to shroud an entire state before desiccating gradually. Quiet passages of solitary icons here and there, then a massive pileup; transgenic thunderstorms developing over some skies somewhere, possibly flooding an uncontaminated gene pool with a deluge of foreign DNAs. It's like watching the time-lapsed maps of The Weather Channel.