This may be a stupid question... about fruit and vegetables.

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This may be a stupid question... about fruit and vegetables.

Postby Sander » Mon Dec 27, 2010 11:46 pm

I was reminded that we are not permitted to mutilate animals; that is, to neuter or spay.

It is common in food markets to find 'seedless' watermelon. Is it permitted to modify watermelon to make it infertile?

Is there any problem in Torah law with hybridizing plants, or grafting them?
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Re: This may be a stupid question... about fruit and vegetab

Postby martinbrody » Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:38 am

Sander wrote:I was reminded that we are not permitted to mutilate animals; that is, to neuter or spay.

It is common in food markets to find 'seedless' watermelon. Is it permitted to modify watermelon to make it infertile?

Is there any problem in Torah law with hybridizing plants, or grafting them?



Yes, there are all sorts of prohibitions, however once it is done you can enjoy the produce.
Best,
Martin B
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Re: This may be a stupid question... about fruit and vegetab

Postby aries » Sun Jan 09, 2011 7:45 am

Duh.
Seedless watermellons are not seedless. The seeds are just very small. Unlike other seedless fruits, the seedless watermellons are produced using a chemical rather than genetic manipulation. Therefore there would be no problem of mixing two fruits together (which can be a torah prohibition). There is nothing about creating infertile fruits. The Torah only refers to castrating animals.
Aryeh Shore
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Re: This may be a stupid question... about fruit and vegetab

Postby Poster » Tue Jan 18, 2011 9:35 am

I think our normal bananas don't have any seeds because they are cuts, all the same plant. The problem now is that we're using the umpteenth hundredth generation of the banana and we're not improving the genes and one plague can wipe out the lot. (like what caused the famous Irish potato famine, not enough variety (just one potato gene spread across the country) and one bug spread literally as fast as a wild fire, in a few hours the plant would die.


The Haas avocado is from one original tree:

"Hass made a profit of less than US$5,000 from the patent because other growers would use single trees bought from Brokaw to graft entire orchards."


What they do is start the sprout, cut off the top, then graft the top onto a stronger bottom root system to make a stronger tree.
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grafting

Postby aries » Tue Jan 18, 2011 10:31 am

As I said, watermellons are the only "seedless" produced by using chemicals. All the rest are accidents which somebody saw and preserved. Since the seeds are infantile and do not develop, the seedless oranges and stuff are produced by grafting (or by putting a branch in the ground to make it think its a root and start a new vine). Now this considered by some to be a problem. Primarily grafting the etrog branch to a lemon since a "killaim" etrog is not kosher. Numerous polemics were written on this in the last two hundred years and it can get pretty viscious.
Bottom line: There is no way to tell a grafted etrog from a direct growth. There is absolutely (a much as modern genetics can say) no difference between any of the 16 varieties of etrog in the world. The only explaination of this is that they all were brought to wherever they got to from Eretz Yisrael.
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