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Plant Biotechnology and Oak Domestication

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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.

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?

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Solution Summary

This solution examines aspects of plant biotechnology e.g. parts of plant and genetic engineering, and then debates why an oak has not been domesticated. Supplemented with two informative articles on genetic engineering for further research.