Qmost Tomato's in the US have lost there flavor..is GMO responsible?

most Tomato's in the US have lost there flavor..is GMO responsible?

AExpert Answer

First, there are no GMO tomatoes on the market. The famous “Flavr Savr” GM tomato of the 90’s was gone before Y2K.

 

There, question answered! But let’s look at this a little deeper. Why do tomatoes taste, boring?

 

New varieties of tomatoes are developed through traditional breeding. A breeder has to evaluate thousands of lines from a genetic cross to find one winner, so you can imagine the huge expense and resources used.

 

That said, tomatoes in breeding programs are not selected by breeders based on sensory traits like aroma and flavor, at least they haven’t been. Breeders now have to prioritize how well they ship and store. They are interested in uniform size, shape and color. Breeders are highly interested in disease resistance, both on the plant and the fruit. In short, there are a lot of traits a good tomato has to have long before flavor is even considered.

 

The production system for bulk tomatoes does not help either. Most are picked green and then ripened using ethylene gas, a compound usually produced naturally by the ripened fruit. Ripening is artificially induced, so you don’t get the usual balance of sugars, acids and volatiles you get when you grow one at home.

 At this point I’ve blamed unremarkable tomato flavor on genetics and production. What’s up next for tomato flavor?

 

Researchers here at the University of Florida led by Dr. Harry Klee have identified the natural compounds in tomatoes that consumers like. This information can help breeders make better decisions about what plants to use in crosses to select the best genetics to improve taste http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822(12)00408-3

 

These findings will pave the way for faster breeding of better tomatoes. Learn more from this New York Times article. 

 

GMO will eventually help the process. A tomato line carrying a gene from pepper (a tomato cousin) is resistant to bacterial wilt. This disease requires substantial application of copper sulfate to manage it. Keeping copper (a heavy metal) out of the environment would be a nice benefit of this GMO technology. http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0042036

 

If disease is controlled by adding a transgene, then breeders can focus on flavors! I LOVE tomatoes and I think the future looks bright for higher-quality products thanks to science.

Posted on January 31, 2018
Thank you for your question. There are various aspects of your question. I assume your question refers to the use of Agrobacterium rhizogenes by scientists to intentionally transfer genes from the bacterium to plants. Infection and DNA transfer from this bacterium occurs in nature all the time to cause disease. Such transformed plants are not classified as GMOs since transfer occurred naturally. If this is done by scientists then it would be classified as a GMO. Rules and... Read More
Answer:
Posted on March 1, 2018
I’m a Monsanto scientist who has more than 20 years of experience with genetic modification of plants. I will try to answer your question, even though I don’t ever do experiments on animals, certainly not on humans, of course! Can humans be genetically modified…but a much bigger question is should humans be genetically modified? There are two ways to think about genetic modification of humans (or any animal). One way is modification of somatic cells, and the other is the... Read More
Answer:
Posted on May 10, 2017
The simple answer is that 20+ years of composition assessments of GMO crops have demonstrated that crop composition is not appreciably affected by the GM process (1). In addition, data collected through that time have indicated that general factors such as the growth environment can contribute to notable variation in component levels (2). Plant agglutinins (or lectins) and amylase inhibitors are examples of anti-nutritional compounds that may be present in crops. The relevance of such a... Read More

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