Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Weird News-Tearless Onions

They're developing an onion that doesn't make you cry.

There's this vegetable geneticist that's trying to prevent diseases from occurring in onions and during the course of their manipulations, they discovered that they can block the gene that mixes with another gene in the onion that causes tears when you cut it up.

Apparently (this is new to me), there are two genes that, separate, don't cause a reaction. However, whenever you cut into the onion, the two genes mix and this causes the enzyme to make you cry.

Here's a quote by Dr. Colin Eady:

"“Through RNAi, genes can be specifically shut down or turned off. By shutting down the lachrymatory factor synthase gene, we have stopped valuable sulphur compounds being converted to the tearing agent, and instead made them available for redirection into compounds, some of which are known for their flavour and health properties.”"

In plain English (not plain smack), by blocking the LFS gene, they can let the sulphur in onion get redirected to help out the flavor and health properties of the onion.

When I first heard this bit of news yesterday on NPR (yes, I listen to NPR, shut up), I was astonished. I thought, "how incredibly lazy and weak are humans to want to genetically alter onions so you won't cry for that whole 5 minutes when cutting up onions" but then when I read that it's not being done for that reason but for helping out the health properties, I changed my mind. It's just a good side effect of the genetics altering.

However, that brings up the question of genetics altering in the first place. I've been hearing on the peripheral of genetics altering in vegetables and animals. As a whole, it freaks me out. When they start breaking down why they're doing it, it kinda makes sense. However, overall, I'm a "don't mess with Mother Nature" kinda gal.

Makes you think.


Mama Dawg

0 really cool people who give a rat's patootie:

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