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Are seedless watermelons GMO?

Submitted by: Ralph Saperstein


Expert response from David Sousa

Public Affairs Manager, Dow AgroSciences

Wednesday, 14/08/2013 16:13

A common question in relation to GMO produce is ‘are seedless watermelons genetically modified’? 

The answer is no. There is no such thing as a GMO watermelon. Instead, seedless watermelons are hybrid plants that are created by cross-pollinating a male watermelon with a female watermelon flower. 

Seedless watermelons were first produced by a plant geneticist named O.J. Eigsti in the 1940s. However, they didn’t take off until around 40 years later, when the idea was reintroduced and marketed to grocery store chains. Once Americans’ had got their first taste of watermelons without the pesky seeds, the hybrid, seedless watermelon was here to stay.

Seedless watermelons can also be considered organic, depending on how farmers grow them. If they are produced without chemicals or pesticides, then they can technically be classed as organic produce. 

At the moment, there are only ten commercially available GM crops in the United States. Over history, humans have altered crops for taste, yield, disease resistance, or, in this case, to have fewer seeds. 

See Wikipedia's Seedless Fruit page for a general overview of seedless fruit production.  Thanks for your question.