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Genetically engineered tomato

Patrick O'Neil patrick at corona
Fri Feb 10 21:35:06 EST 1995


As a very recent arrival here, I am still reading the messages so if this 
is redundant...I apologize.  I can only comment on the Flavr-Savr Tomato, 
though I recently heard of another tomato by another company that has a 
much longer shelf-life.  
  All that was done with the flavr-savr was that an enzyme (which enzyme 
escapes me at present) was effectively inactivated; this enzyme playing a 
part in the ripening process so that knocking it out extends ripening.  
The means of shutting it down was to introduce an anti-sense gene for the 
enzyme into the plant (I don't know what promoter was used).  Expression 
of this gene produces, naturally, an "anti-mRNA" which base-pairs with 
the normal enzyme's mRNA, thus preventing its translation.  No nasty 
additives.  No threat to life, liberty, or the American Way at all.  No 
danger of Triffids spreading all over the world, killing us all.  Very 
simple, very nice...and the tomato taste one HELL of a lot better than 
the normal store variety, more like that fresh-picked from someones own 
garden, when ripe, and eaten right away with the benefit that it can sit 
for a week or two on the shelf without getting disgusting.  The other 
tomato I just heard about has a reported shelf-life of up to a month.  
Perhaps the company that made it extended the anti-sense procedure to a 
whole cascade of enzymes(?).

Patrick



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