If you have ever eaten a banana, you know that there are no seeds. But in natural conditions, bananas have hundreds of seeds and are only seedless when produced in commercial settings. Other fruits, like the cherimoya, also known as the custard apple, are native to the Andes valley and are considered one of the most delicious fruits. But, they do contain a great deal of weird-shaped seeds, making it difficult to eat. If only they could create a seedless cherimoya…
Researchers at UC Davis and the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas in Spain have been working closely to uncover the element involved in creating seedless crops. Examining the cherimoya carefully, they observed that the ovules did not have an outer coat. This finding led them to perform studies on a similar, outer-coat lacking plant, Arabidopsis. The defective form of Arabidopsis did not make seeds or fruit, while the mutant form of cherimoya developed a fully-grown, smooth fruit that lacked all the unwieldy, huge seeds.
Together, the two teams uncovered that there is a common gene involved in the production of uncoated ovules. Isolation of this new gene has the potential to yield seedless strains in the cherimoya and in a multitude of other related fruits. Eventually, we could be eating an assortment of fruits without the trouble of removing the awkward seeds.
Discussion Question: Besides apples, what other fruits have seeds? And would you prefer them without the seeds?
News article: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110314152912.htm
Journal article: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2011/03/09/1014514108
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