Do you think it could be possible for all fruits and vegetables to never have seeds ever again? What if your favourite food could reproduce solely through the means of genetic cloning?
Parthenocarpy is the process of fruit production without fertilisation of any seeds, which renders it seedless.
Fruit born from this process has been concluded to bear advantages, such as longer shelf life. As a result, studies show that consumers prefer seedless fruits and that there is an ever-growing demand for it.
Studies of genetic modification of fruits and vegetables have suggested that this defect is actually beneficial. It allows the avoidance of suffocation that even rulers of ancient empires suffered.
But, just how are seedless grapes grown?
Birth of the Seedless Grape
Fruits are actually the protective layer of any given seed. Ripened fruits serve the purpose of protecting seeds after the completion of fertilisation.
A seed begins its journey as an ovule. The sperm of a plant undergoes pollination to form a fertilised ovule called an embryo or zygote.
Once the fertilised ovule is ripened, its walls are either soft and become what we recognise as berries, or they have a tough exterior and morph into a nut.
The fertilisation process will continue to repeat with the seed of the newly ripened fruit. The seed is left to contribute to its current generation.
However, the genetic defect of a seedless fruit would force the discontinuation of its kind. This genetic defect can be caused by chromosomal imbalance, lack of seed development or even non-functional eggs or sperm.
Nonetheless, seedless grapes have been found to be crowd favourites due to convenience and lack of necessary precaution during consumption.
But, just how will they maintain their position if such sterile grapes are the last of their generation? How could seedless grapes possibly continue to sustain?
The solution lies in cloning.
Cloning has been studied and researched to produce grapes without the need for fertilisation.
Seedless grapes are grown from cuttings, meaning the amputated sections of a grapevine. They have been proven to contain genetic defects that cause seedless grapes.
The process of cloning begins with the cuttings being dipped into a rooting hormone before they are planted in soil. Once they have been showered with moisture, the cuttings continue to grow as the exact replica of the original grapevine.
In fact, this process has been suggested to be an ancient procedure with some historians claiming that it actually originated during the reign of the Roman empire.
Actually, seedless grapes are not seedless. Their seeds technically grow, but they are underdeveloped. Due to genetic defects, the seeds just do not contain a hard outer coating like most normal seeds.
This ground-breaking advancement could provide consumers with a wider variety of parthenocarpy-born foods through genetic engineering in the near future.