We found 5 Reddit comments about Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.
If plant breeding really geeks you out, I'd suggest reading The Garden of Invention, a book about Luther Burbank and the insane amount of plants he improved that are still in use today (McDonalds uses Burbank potatoes). If you want to breed things in your own garden, I really enjoyed the book Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties. It had a nice mix of non-technical techniques and more in depth genetics and such. She doesn't mention breeding perennials though. Anybody have recommendations about that? I've been reading up on perennial barley, because I'm a beer nerd and a permaculture nerd.
Also, one more Amazon link (sorry)... the Land Institute is featured in part of the book Biomimicry. The science in the book is probably a little out of date (one of the chapters is on photosynthesis and I think we've gotten closer to figuring that out since the book was published) but it was a real eye-opener and I totally geeked out over it.
(Is there a reddit associate account for amazon, so they can collect referral commissions on book links?)
Along the same lines, Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature
Well I'm sure you've read it, but I've heard cradle to cradle is pretty good
You could look into biomimicry too, there's absolutely loads of interesting projects that deal with biomimicry
Here are some other books that could help:
Hope that helps!
EDIT: Forgot this one
I confess, I answered with a little snark and not having read the article... Not to mention ignoring your first question and replying just to getting rid of the word cancer and what the term cancer implies.
Now having read the article...
Look at it this way (and I'm paraphrasing from what I read a while ago in the book Biomimicry)...
Through evolution, many plant species have developed various compounds over time. Some of those compounds may be beneficial to the plant while others may keep pests away or animals from eating the plant. Some of these compounds may be harmful to one organism and helpful to another. Think of poison ivy, aloe, etc...
Now, for whatever reason, this berry is producing this compound. The article doesn't mention much about it, or the berries for that matter, so it's hard to say whether this compound makes the berry sweeter (which might entice animals to eat the berry, and if there is a seed in the berry the plant will get help in spreading and reproducing) or tart/sour (preventing animals from eating it unless they purposely eat it to cure something, as mentioned in the Biomimicry book in regards to apes eating a certain plant to fight indigestion). Whatever the reason, the compound exists in the berry.
As for too many variables, that is hard to say based on this article and I haven't tracked down any original article in Pubmed. The article mentions 300 cats, dogs, and horses. That sounds more like trying out the compound in those animals that have presented tumors, as opposed to doing a lab controlled study in a mouse/rat line that either gets tumors or has tumors/tumor cells xenografted into the rat/mouse. Then again, maybe those cats/dogs/horses are lab animals, but it really sounds more like local pets...
If you do the lab controlled study (and maybe they have) testing a group receiving the compound compared with a group receiving mock injections of whatever carrier solution (saline, etc.) that you use to deliver the compound, you should be able to definitely say that there is an effect or there is no effect, assuming the study is sufficiently statistically powered.
In regards to which types of cancer, it sounds like head and neck tumors as well as melanoma. Will it be effective in all cancers? Maybe, but unlikely given that although cancers have a fundamental similarity they are often caused by widely varying mutations. The question is, which molecular interaction networks are being affected by this compound, and will altering those networks in other cancers also prove to be effective. Only way to figure that one out is through experimentation, whether that be direct testing in cancer models/cancer patients, systems biology approaches, microarray/NGS experiments, proteomics, or just basic biochemistry, it sounds like there will be a lot of work needing to be done.
I am almost certain that I read about this very thing, if not this very text in a book called Biomimicry by Janine Benyus. It covered more than just genetic programming, but it was a very interesting read in this vein of thinking.