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Thread: How 8 Fruit and Vegetables Looked Like Before Human Cultivation

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    Administrator Islander's Avatar
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    Default How 8 Fruit and Vegetables Looked Like Before Human Cultivation

    Natalia Jones, editor
    undated

    Domestication is a genius idea if you think about it. You take a wild plant or animal and carefully breed it so that the desired traits become increasingly prominent, simultaneously editing out the more undesirable aspects. As a result, humans have loyal and lovable pets, as well as delicious and nutritious foods that are resistant to parasites and quick to grow. But have you ever wondered how much of a difference cultivation makes? It turns out that it’s pretty impressive what just a few hundred or thousand years of careful cultivation can do to a plant species, transforming them beyond recognition.

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    Veteran Member Mr. Wizard's Avatar
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    Default Re: How 8 Fruit and Vegetables Looked Like Before Human Cultivation

    Very informative!! As I read this, I thought about the growing numbers of genetically modified foods being introduced into the food supply, beginning with corn and soybeans in the 1990s. To genetically modify a plant, genes from an unrelated species are artifically inserted into a different plant, producing an organism--genetically modified organism (GMO)--that could not occur naturally. For example, GMO corn has been engineered with a gene from the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt)--called Bt Corn--that makes it resistant to the herbicide Roundup. GMO corn and soybeans, for example, are even called Roundup Ready crops. Some fear that these GMO genes could jump to other crops, further changing fruits & veggies as we know them today!
    Last edited by Mr. Wizard; 01-12-20 at 03:54 PM.

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    Default Re: How 8 Fruit and Vegetables Looked Like Before Human Cultivation

    To be accurate, Mr. Wizard, fruits & veggies are not "clones." A clone is a cutting from a mother plant that will exactly replicate the parent. When breeding fruits and vegetables, the practice is to select seeds from those plants with the most desirable traits, e.g. larger size, sweeter flavor, earlier ripening for short season growers, etc. Because seeds contain random combinations of DNA, every generation will produce a variety of traits with hopefully a larger concentration of the desirable ones. The same process of selection continues generation after generation until gradually a uniformity of desirable traits results. The same applies to animals; one saves for breeding, the ewes with the best record of twinning and the best mothering skills, and the rams that best represent the species, etc. The advent of artificial insemination enabled the family with just one cow to choose the very best bull they can afford whose offspring will be heavy milk producers. And so forth.
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    Veteran Member Mr. Wizard's Avatar
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    Default Re: How 8 Fruit and Vegetables Looked Like Before Human Cultivation

    Islander, thank you for your excellent, and important, clarification on the definition of "clones." I've modified my previous post accordingly.

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