Viagra prices set to soften

14.02.03: WORRIED about your erection but can't afford Viagra or one of its successors? Worry no more. A five-acre field in a secret location in East Anglia has just been planted with a genetically engineered linseed that will produce an anti-impotence compound at half the current cost.

"The price is set to tumble," says Keith Mansion of Associated Transgenics. "Genetically engineered animals can now produce drugs such as insulin in their milk, but plants are more efficient."

Other projects include vaccine-producing potatoes and oil-seed rape containing a bacterial gene making biodegradable plastic.

But all is not well: "What happens when these genes escape into the wild?" asks the human rights activist Jeremy Rifkin. "We can't begin to predict the effects on the food chain." JB

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