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Genetically engineered Flavr Savr tomato seedlings

Genetically engineered Flavr Savr tomato seedlings

G280/0265

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Credit

PETER MENZEL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PETER MENZEL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Genetically engineered tomato plants. Geneticist Dr Virginia Ursin examines cultures of Flavr Savr tomato plants, the first genetically engineered whole food. Each dish contains seedlings cultured from a single cell, grown on agarose medium. Flavr Savr tomatoes have a gene which allows the fruit to ripen on the vine without softening; so they are tastier, don't need ripening with ethylene gas, and are not damaged during shipping. Tomato softening occurs due to the enzyme polygalacturonase. Flavr Savr tomatoes contain an "anti-sense" gene which blocks the enzyme. This tomato entered American supermarkets in May 1994. Research at Calgene, California, USA.

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