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grafting

Not Genetically Engineered: Grapes

New York Grapes. Concords I believe, though it's been several years so I may be remembering wrong.

New York Grapes. Concords I believe, though it's been several years so I may be remembering wrong.

Scientific Name: Vitis vinifera

Supposed Genetically Engineered Trait: Large size/seedlessness

The Real Story:

Seedless grapes are descended from several different mutations that all result in the developing embryos of grape seeds to abort prematurely*. You can still find the tiny dead remnants of seeds in seedless grapes. Of course being seedless raises a new question: How do plant breeders work with seedless grapes? (more…)

Grafting

Grafted Apple Tree

Grafted Apple Tree

Imagine if all it took to replace a lost leg was to put another leg against the amputation site, tie up the wound and let the two grow together. We can do that with plants! We’ve been doing it for thousands of years and it is an important part of crops production for woody plants (think fruit trees).

The technique is called grafting and it really is almost that simple. A branch or stalk* from one plant is cut and attached to another plant of the same or a related species**, making sure to line up the vascular tissue*** of the cut branch and host plant. That connection is covered with grafting wax or grafting compound which keeps the exposed ends of the cuts from drying out which would stress or kill the cells. (more…)