This unremarkable pile of cumin actually took a lot of work to develop. It has been genetically engineered to be resistant to high salt levels. This was done through the use of a gene gun, which is a very cool piece of technology.
A gene gun is loaded with tiny particles of gold that are coated with pieces of DNA. These pieces of DNA are copies of a gene that scientists would like to add to a specific specimen. The gun is shot through a sample of a specimen, such as a broad leaf. The hope is that the tiny gold particles will pierce the nucleus of even one plant cell, and the DNA coating it will be integrated into the plant’s genome. Scientists crush down the leaf and grow up the cells, hoping to find a strain that has been modified and can be used to develop a modified plant.