Sunday, February 22, 2009


Generic word for plants and animals that have been genetically altered to permit their survival in unfamiliar or hostile environments. Climagen Palm Trees, for example, have been modified to allow them to thrive in temperate climates, which is why they are to be seen growing on northern European beaches, and round the Great Lakes of North America. Similarly, a Russian billionaire has recently stocked his estate in the Urals with woolly-haired climagen elephants in honour of the extinct mammoths who once roamed there
During the last decade, the word appears to have extended its meaning to denote any kind of accommodation of one thing or person to another. People of gentle disposition are being referred to as “climagens”, as are politicians who change their mind.
A compound of “genetic” and “acclimatise”, the expression was originally coined by scientists at the University of Newfoundland who were working on a project to replenish the Grand Banks - once the world’s largest source of the now extinct northern cod - with several species of fast-breeding fish of tropical origin. The original project failed, not for want of technology, but because as soon as the new breeds settled to their northern environment, the fishing industry scooped them up and left the region as bereft of edible marine life as before.

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