Cigarettes kill more than four million people a year, but a cousin of the tobacco plant could help protect the rest of us from a major flu pandemic. This February, Darpa, the Pentagon's R&D branch, awarded $40 million to Texas A&M University and pharmaceutical manufacturer G-Con to launch Project GreenVax, an effort to speed vaccine production by growing it in tobacco. First, scientists engineer bacteria to carry the latest flu markers and wash them over Nicotiana benthamiana tobacco plants. The bacteria dump the DNA into the plant's cells, which follow its instructions to churn out the flu protein. Technicians then grind up the leaves to extract the protein. Injected into a person, the protein works like any vaccine, training the body to attack the flu virus.