Pharming (genetic) and pharming (computer science)

Garson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Thu Nov 19 22:46:55 UTC 2009

James Harbeck's post concerning the word pharmerging caused me to look
up the word pharming and discover that OED has a nice draft entry for
the term in its genetic sense.

pharming, n. The process of genetically modifying plants and animals
so that they produce substances which may be used as pharmaceuticals;
the growing or keeping of plants and animals for this purpose. Cf.

The earliest cite is 1991 Wall St. Journal 27 August.

A Washington Post article on the same day in 1991 mentions "a Dutch
team from the University of Leiden and the company Gene Pharming Inc."
This probably refers to Gene Pharming Europe B.V. of Leiden.

In a way the existence of this company name testifies to the
introduction of the term pharming into the language since the goal of
the group was the commercialization of pharming. Maybe the
incorporation papers of the company can serve as a citation?

There is an entry in the Canadian Patents Database. The filing date is
1990-11-30 and the open to public inspection date is 1991-06-13. The
applicant is Gene Pharming Europe B.V. and the patent is all about
pharming using cows though it does not use the term pharming. This
antedates the WSJ article but it might not be the type of cite the OED

A new additional definition for pharming is emerging. Dave Wilton
mentioned it in the list archives in 2005. Wikipedia has an entry
describing this new meaning that was begun in November 2007 and
contains cites from 2005. The term is a neologism combining farming
and phishing.


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