ants marching across a picnic spread

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Does "picnic spread" refer to "a large piece of fabric where picnic people sit on"?

"We spread the picnic rug out on the ground and sat down to eat." (Cambridge Dict)

That is, the picnic rug is exactly the picnic spread?

Thanks in advance
When scientists want to edit scores of genes to see which changes protect T cells against HIV, they need to build a separate CRISPR/Cas9 assemblage of multiple molecules each time. Because that’s so easy, the UCSF scientists marched through the genome in human T cells like ants marching across a picnic spread: a project that would take years with the previous generation of genome editing tools instead took months.

-Scientific American
  • Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    No; the "spread" is the food laid out ready to be eaten.

    See definition #12 in the WR dictionary:

    a great amount of food set out on a table; feast:
    He always puts out a lavish spread at the office parties.
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