As June comes to a close, it’s time to look back at our June issue and ask “what’s going on here?” with the cover image. As you may have guessed, the image is related to the publication of the carrot genome sequence in this month’s issue.
The cover image was provided by Rachel Meyer, a scientist who was not a co-author of the genome paper. Dr. Meyer was previously a postdoctoral researcher with Michael Purugganan at NYU and is an AAAS Science and Technology Policy fellow. She is also a co-founder of Shoots & Roots in New York.
Dr. Meyer gave us the following information about the carrot canang sari on the June cover:
Celebrating the recent availability of rainbow carrots year-round in Washington DC, I cut them in various ways and laid them out in a public dirt plot between the sidewalk and the street that was still bare because Spring had barely started and planting was far from beginning. The cold kept the carrots nicely preserved for three days. The installation took about 6 hours, and the design itself was lifted from a Persian carpet, sharing an origin with some of the earliest domesticated carrots. I had no intention to leave the installation there but people in the busy U-street/Shaw district, coming home late at night from the bars, would stop and photograph it, and even some of the suits interrupted their morning power walks to work to investigate it. After a few days, to my surprise it was not rats, but a middle-aged man who had decimated the carrots for a meal.
Shelby Ellison, an author of the carrot genome article this cover references, did this research as part of her NSF Plant Genome Postdoctoral Fellowship. We were in the same class of Fellows together and became friends because we would look for cool restaurants around DC together during our brief visits to NSF for annual Plant Genome meetings. I’m grateful to be able to explore the subject of her science through installation.
For more about the carrot genome paper, see our previous blog post, featuring Q&A with the corresponding author.