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The Rise and Fall of FLAVR SAVR Tomato A Delayed Ripening Tomato

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They are accountable for the overall predilection of an organism and what the organism is going to be. Humans are utilizing their potentials to explore and reveal the surreptitious lying uncharted. The advent of genetic engineering has revolutionized this investigation procedure. Genetic manipulations are being performed to bring out the best by altering the genetic make-up of the plants as well as animals. Initially, the process was initiated with the micro-organisms and now it has taken a prominence in the food stuffs, where genetic amendments are paving way to take a form of revolution in the food industry. The biggest question that ponders in the mind is regarding safety of these food items. Are they really safe or they are daunting? Genetic manipulations involving transformations has generated various novel products not only related to food stuffs but also in the field of health services where microbes are being utilized to generate imperative and life saving medicines like insulin, various vaccines are being generated to prevent and safeguard the survival of human, plants as well as animals. The success of these products lies in the acceptance by the people and they should not project any health hazards. FLAVR SAVR Tomato Genetically modified or GM, are the food stuffs possessing altered genetic makeup. In these food stuffs either some of the genes are incorporated or they are obliterated in order to enhance the quality of the product. Keeping this view, the first genetically engineered crop variety of tomato called FLAVR SAVR was created in 1992 by a California-based organization called "Calgene". It obtained FDA approval two years later on 18th May 1994, and got prevalence in the market without any label of "GM" i.e. Genetically Modified. FDA reasoned out that the product does not possess any noticeable health risk and therefore labeling is not mandatory. moreover the nutrient value of the product was not altered (Panse). Reasons for creating FLAVR SAVR Tomato Globalization has made the world small. People residing in a particular geographical area are now able to enjoy the fruits and vegetables growing under different climatic or environmental conditions. This has generated a need to cultivate fruits and vegetables not only for making them available in the local market but also for transporting them across the national and international boundaries. Transportation of these food stuffs require prevention against any kind of damage or over ripening and putrification. Thus, to enhance the shelf life of these food items, harvesting was done when the fruits and vegetables were unripe, followed by ethylene gas treatment, such treatment hampers their natural taste and flavor. In order to overcome these hurdles, Calgene attempted to generate lasting food stuffs with retained flavor. Attempts were made to genetically modify tomato because of ease in handling, thus with ten years of constant research process Calgene came up with a genetically modified tomato, FLAVR SAVR tomato (Panse). Genetic Modifications Involved in FLAVR SAVR tomatoes FLAVR SAVR tomatoes encompassed the incorporation of two genes. One of the two genes was a reverse copy of polygalacturonase gene (PG) responsible for the breakdown of cellulose. This gene is incorporated in reverse form and hence is called antisense. Therefore, antisense gene which was introduced into the tomato impeded the formation of polygalacturonase enzyme, which is otherwise responsible for degradation of pectin present in the cell wall, making the tomato soft. Presence of antisense PG enzyme does not allow the tomatoes to lose the stiffness. This prevents the microbial infestation, as soft and pulpy tomatoes invite the microbial attack. By altering the enzymic activity decaying course is diminished and