The Strange World of Man-made Vegetables
While there may be debate over whether genetically modified organisms should make it into our food supply, it turns out that scientists have been creating man-made vegetables for centuries.
Genetically Modified Vegetables
These days, the most recognizable man-made vegetables are those that have been genetically modified. Common examples of GM vegetables include corn, soybeans, tomatoes and squash. These have been specifically modified in a laboratory to have improved traits such as:
- enhanced nutrition – providing more vitamins and minerals than their natural counterparts
- higher yields – meaning they produce more crops and fruits
- improved resistance – making them hardier and more resistant to harsh weather and diseases
However, there is significant debate over whether these modified vegetables are safe for consumption. Some studies have suggested potential health risks to consumers and the environment, with some governments even banning GM foods.
But GM vegetables aren’t the only kind that have been created in a laboratory — hybrid vegetables have been around for almost a century! Unlike GM vegetables, these vegetables are created using traditional cross-breeding methods.
The goal of hybridizing is to create a vegetable with beneficial traits, such as disease resistance and hardiness. It is essentially combining the best of several different varieties to create a superior product. Popular examples of hybrid vegetables include watermelons, tomatoes, and sweet corn.
It may come as a surprise, but man has been tinkering with vegetables for centuries. From creating hybrid vegetables to genetically modified ones, science is opening up a whole new world of possibilities for our food supply — and it’s up to us to decide what should and shouldn’t make it to the dinner table.