Wednesday, April 2, 2008

A Vegetable Victory

A Vegetable Victory

Meal time preparation tears may soon be a thing of the past thanks to the creation of a “tear free” onion. Scientists across the Tasman at the New Zealand research institute Crop and Food have followed on from Japanese discoveries regarding the genetic reasoning behind the tear jerking properties of onions. This knowledge coupled with gene silencing techniques has allowed this consumer friendly onion to be created.

Gene silencing can be described as ‘A mechanism by which cells shut down large sections of chromosomal DNA. Gene silencing is done by incorporating the DNA to be silenced into a form of DNA called heterochromatin that is already silent’. (MedicineNet, 2008)

By shutting down the gene that would usually on to produce the enzyme responsible for tear production scientists have been able to create this miracle onion. Not only do these genetic modifications make physical contact with these vegetables more pleasant, it is believed that it enhances flavour. Unconverted sulphur compounds that result due to the gene silencing are redirected to other compounds such as those responsible for taste.

The only negative to this vegetable miracle is that it may not be seen on your chopping board for at least another decade.

POsted by Kate Porter s41409307 date:02/04/08

Further reading:,25197,23146963-30417,00.html

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