If you think this tree looks amazing, you should know it is also a scientific marvel.
Popular fiction is always warning us about the dangers of scientific overreaching and genetic manipulation, and rightly so; part of the function of popular fiction, and Horror in particular, is to caution us against potential threats of our own making. The trend didn’t originate with the advent of cinema, either. H.G. Wells’ THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU is a perfect example of the Victorian sort, and of course there is FRANKENSTEIN. Most recently we’ve enjoyed JURASSIC WORLD unleashing the Indominus Rex, a laboratory-created hybrid dinosaur that is far smarter and more formidable than any saurian Nature ever designed. We must always tread careful when letting the scientific genie out of the bottle of collective knowledge, lest we release Pandora’s terrors, create monsters.
We should remember, though, that sometimes a little scientific meddling is a GOOD thing. Genetically creating hardier crops, for example, to combat world hunger. Using DNA and cloning technology to keep endangered species from becoming extinct. File this one, the “Franken-tree,” under the positive/beneficial banner. The brainchild of an art professor (not a scientist) named Sam Van Aken, the Franken-tree, which can yield over 40 different kinds of fruit, was intended more for artistic purpose than scientific advancement, but like a true hybrid it manages to be both things at once.