Credit: Michael Rhoneimer

Thanks to a 'biotech' intervention, the modern fiddle in the picture fooled more than 100 listeners in a blind test. Professor Francis Schwarze of the Swiss Federal Laboratory for Materials Testing and Research treated Norwegian spruce and sycamore with two fungi to recreate the effects of cold climate thought to cause the superior quality of the wood used by Antonio Stradivari in the 17th century. Schwarze commissioned violin craftsman Michael Rhoneimer of Baden, Switzerland to build an instrument which was tested alongside untreated fiddles and a $2 million Stradivarius. Listeners were asked to identify the Strad, and while 113 picked the biotech fiddle, only 39 correctly identified the Strad.