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    Plant biotechnology

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    1. You are a geneticist working for a firm that specializes in plant biotechnology. Explain what specific parts (fruit, seeds, stems, roots, etc.) of the following plants you would try to alter by genetic engineering, what changes you would try to make, and why, on a) corn, b) tomatoes, c) wheat, and d) avocados.

    2. Only a few hundred of the hundreds of thousands of species in the plant kingdom have been domesticated for human use. One example is the almond. The domestic almond is nutritious and harmless, but its wild precursor can cause cyanide poisoning. The oak makes potentially nutritious seeds (acorns) that contain very bitter-tasting tannins. If we could breed the tannin out of acorns, they might become a delicacy. Why do you suppose we have failed to domesticate oaks?

    These areas are considered.

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    Solution Preview

    1. You are a geneticist working for a firm that specializes in plant biotechnology. Explain what specific parts (fruit, seeds, stems, roots, etc.) of the following plants you would try to alter by genetic engineering, what changes you would try to make, and why, on a) corn, b) tomatoes, c) wheat, and d) avocados.

    Now, why you would want to mess around with something that's already perfect I don't know, but if we must answer this question, here goes!

    Corn: What part of the corn do we eat? The kernel. What type of traits do we like in our kernels? Sweetness, tenderness, large size perhaps?, juiciness. Therefore, we might want to try to alter the corn variety in order to produce very sweet and incredibly delicious kernels. A secondary issue that might be interesting to try would be to increase the number of kernels per stalk so as to increase the actual yield per acre (but this could be done probably much easier through normal selective breedings ...

    Solution Summary

    Plant biotechnology is featured using many examples.

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