Onions and Gene Silencing
The answer to the puzzle of why onions make us cry rested in the conversion of sulfur compounds into tear producing agents. Redirecting these compounds into elements within onions that impart additional flavor might eventually result in a tastier onion. Colin Eady, senior scientist at the New Zealand research institute, said that the onion project began after scientists in Japan located the tear-producing gene in 2002.
Science and Our Food Supply
Switching off the tear producing gene in onions is cutting edge DNA technology that raises questions about how far we want science to go in improving the food we eat. The prospect of a no tears onion is convenient, but can't help but raise questions about what we may be sacrificing for the convenience.
How Long To Market for the No Tears Onion?
Eady speculated that it would be 10 to 15 years before his wonder onion was ready for mass-market production. His hope in altering foods with gene silencing was to develop produce that would result in more reliable crop yields and thus a more robust and efficient food supply.