Neal Desai took first place in the contest. Desai is a 10th grader in Kansas City, MO’s Pembroke High School, but clearly identifies as a Kansan, and the Alliance for Science assures me he lives in the Sunflower state.

The contest allowed students to address either of two topics: Agriculture and Evolution or Climate and Evolution. Desai’s essay addresses agriculture, and especially the complex moral, economic and social consequences of plant breeding and the use of evolutionary biology to engineer lines of crops. “Because we, as farmers and scientists, were looking to create plants with ‘weedy’ traits,” Desai explains, “the [genetically modified] plants were able to more easily invade new habitats and ecosystems where they were not desired.”

Congratulations to Desai, to the Alliance for Science.

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