The Transgenic Tomato

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The Transgenic Tomato The Need for Genetic Engineering of Crops For most Americans, fresh vegetables come from the supermarket. One only has to walk down an aisle loaded with gleaming red tomatoes, juicy melons, fresh potatoes, and a plethora of other vegetables and fruits and gather whatever captures one's fancy or appetite. A person living in a Westernized culture often takes for granted the hard work, resource usage, and waste that occurs to bring food to him. Tomatoes, for example, currently follow a long and difficult route to the supermarket. To begin with, field workers must pick the tomatoes by hand while they are still green. The unripe tomatoes are then trucked to facilities where they are gassed with ethylene to artificially induce ripening (Engel 108). Treating green tomatoes with gas to make the red color appear before the tomato ripens allows them to be shipped with less bruising and spoilage because they are still hard, but this practice detracts from their flavor and makes them taste, as some like to say, like cardboard! After the tomatoes are gassed, the red (but tough) tomatoes are distributed to the supermarkets. The "cardboard" tomato problem illustrates a larger problem in agriculture - crop spoilage associated with the predations of insects and fungi and with shipping. We saw that picking fruits such as tomatoes while they are green and chemically ripening them is a solution to some of the spoilage problem in crops, while using other chemicals can prevent some damage by pests. However, these chemicals often create environmental hazards in areas where they are used, and pests can often develop resistance to chemicals used to destroy them, making the release of even more pesticides and fungicides int... ... middle of paper ... ...ill form a string, and the tRNA molecules will be released into the cell. When this string of amino acids is completed, it is called a protein. Some proteins provide structure in living things (such as the protein in muscle tissue), while others can promote certain chemical reactions in cells (such as the breakdown of pectin in tomato cell walls). The above information was taken from Biology, Neil Campbell, et. al., New York: Addison Wesley, 1999, p.316. Works Cited Campbell, Neil et. al. (1999). Biology. New York: Addison Wesley Engel, Karl-Heinz et al., editors. (1995). Genetically Modified Foods: Safety Aspects, Washington, DC: American Chemical Society. Nettleton, Joyce. (1999, January). Wedging Science into Public Policy, Food Technology, p. 20. Wilson, Edward O. (1999). The Diversity of Life. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

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