Genetically Modified Fruit Essay

2334 words - 10 pages

The tissue of fruit softens to allow easier discharge of seed. Excessive fruit softening decreases the fruits shelf-life, resulting in great postharvest losses (Meli et al. 2010). It is possible to increase a fruits shelf-life quality. Nowadays the regulation of a fruits ripening process is accomplished by early harvest or by controlling the atmosphere of the postharvest storage. These approaches can be successful, but not all of these processes are universally relevant and can result in poor fruit quality. Molecular biology techniques can solve this problem (Matas et al. 2009). By delaying the ripening, the softening and the decaying process are also delayed. It will take longer for the ...view middle of the document...

Seed companies that genetically engineered seeds, will benefit the most because the farmer can only use the engineered seed once and then return to the seed companies to buy seeds for the next planting season (Uzogara 2000).

One mechanism leading to development of seedless fruit is parthenocarpy, which is a process that produces fruit without fertilizing the ovules. The target fruit should be allowed to develop normally, but without any fertilization, meaning that the genes that promote parthenocarpy must be modified (Varoquaux et al. 2000). Rotino et al. has transformed the eggplant by the fusion of the DefH9 promoter, from Antirrhinum majus and the IaaM gene, from Pseudomonas syringae pv. Savastanoi. Parthenocarpy was induced by the expression of the gene that codes for a step in the biosynthetic pathway of auxins, a plant hormone that controls the release of seeds, in the ovary (Rotino et al. 1997). The transgenic eggplant produced fruits with no seeds, which shows that parthenocarpy can used to genetically engineer fruit with no seeds (Rotino et al. 1997).
Crop yield can be decreased by insects. The most popular strategy used to create plants that are resistant to insects, is by introducing the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) genes, which encode crystal (cry) proteins, into plants (Engel et al. 2002). Plants get engineered with the cry gene, which can produce Bt proteins, an insecticide that is toxic to coleopterans, including beetles; dipterans, including flies and lepidopterans, including moths and butterflies (Herrnstadt et al. 1986; Andrews et al. 1987; Cohen et al. 2000). This Bt protein is not toxic to human, but it is toxic to target insects as well as non-target insects (Uzogara 2000). Rai et al. transformed the cry1Aa3 gene into an eggplant, the gene transcript was expressed in the leaves and fruit. The eggplant shoot and fruit borer (ESFB), a pest of eggplant, exhibited a high mortality when consuming shoot and fruit tissues of the modified eggplant (Rai et al. 2013). This showed that the transgenic eggplant was resistant toward the ESFB insect.

There are other strategies that can be applied to make a plant resistant to insects. Some of these strategeis include the expression of proteinase inhibitors and lectines (Larry and Richard 2002; Nagadhara et al. 2003). Proteinase inhibitors affect the development and growth of insects. Proteinase inhibitors in transgenic plants get destroyed by cooking, meaning that modified plants that express the proteinase inhibitor genes are safe for consumption (Larry and Richard 2002). Lectin is a carbohydrate binding protein that protects plants against stresses from the environment (Joshi et al. 2010). The lectin gene isolated from the snowdrop plant and transformed into a plant of interest, increased the mortality rate of insects, by affecting their metabolic activity (Nagadhara et al. 2003). By making plants insect resistant there is no need for chemical pesticides, which can lead to less damage...

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