the quest for the perfect tomato

People have learned to change the food we eat.
What's your idea of the perfect tomato?

BIGGER & Redder

For centuries, farmers have used a method called breeding to grow the most desirable crops. With tomatoes, they have combined different kinds to produce larger, redder, and tastier varieties.

Hmmm...This tomato is very RED but very SMALL.

And this tomato is VERY BIG but NOT VERY RED. What if I breed the tomatoes together?

So, the farmer bred these tomatoes until he had seeds for the perfect tomato.

Soon, the farmer had tons of very large, very red, very yummy tomatoes.


You can make bigger and better tomatoes, but no tomato can withstand chilly weather. What can? Fish in the Arctic! Guess what? Scientists have figured out a way to take genes from one species and put them into another. This is called genetic modification .

Too bad this tomato can't survive the cold. If only this tomato were an Arctic flounder! Those fish love icy water!

Hey! I could put the flounder's “anti-freeze” gene inside the DNA of the tomato.

What would the new tomato-fish plant look like?

Neither. It would look like this!

Looks aren't everything! If we could genetically modify a tomato using the fish “anti-freeze” gene, it would look like a normal one. But it would surely act differently. It would be able to grow in the cold.


Do you think these genetically modified foods are a good idea?



Corn Farmers Are All Ears

Pests can ruin farmers' corn crops. So scientists developed genetically modified corn that resists these bugs. The good news is that farmers can now produce more food. The bad news is that some scientists think that the pollen from the corn could be killing harmless insects.


An A-Peeling Vaccine

Each year, thousands of people in poorer countries die of cholera. There is a vaccine to prevent this disease, but the injections are expensive. Scientists are working on a way to put genes that produce vaccines into genetically modified bananas. Opponents worry that altering fruit may have dangerous side effects.

Image Credits:

Illustrations: Daryl Collins