I am a huge fan of watermelons. Truth be told, I can probably eat half of it in a jiffy. They are refreshing, filling, delicious, nutritionally beneficial, and so much more (I am referring to watermelons that are full of seeds). No, I don’t like seedless watermelons. Growing up in Europe, I never even heard of seedless watermelons. I am glad we didn’t have the choice because seedless watermelons just don’t have the same smell and taste as the ones full of seeds. (Here you can find NON-GMO, NON-Hybrid, ALL-NATURAL, seeds). Additionally, seedless watermelons can be dangerous to your health.
SO, how did seedless watermelons enter the food arena? Is a seedless watermelon GMO? Are they natural or did they appear as a result of human intervention?
Are Seedless Watermelons GMO?
The first seedless watermelon was created 50 years ago. Seedless watermelon is grown two ways. The first way is that breeders use genetic tricks to produce them. Usually watermelons are diploid, meaning they have two sets of 11 chromosomes. Seedless watermelon is a triploid because they have 3 sets of chromosomes and are sterile. In order to produce seedless watermelons, a diploid watermelon is pollinated by a tetraploid (4 chromosomes) watermelon. In the process of reproduction, the new watermelon gets one chromosome from the diploid parent and two from the tetraploid which makes it triploid. Since the triploids have three sets, the eggs inside the watermelon are never formed and thus, seeds don’t grow.
The second way to grow seedless watermelon is by using a drug called Colchicine, a chromosome-altering chemical. This US drug is toxic (though people have been using it for the treatment of rheumatism and gout without FDA approval). Colchicine changes the chromosome number in the seeds from 2 to 4. After which, the seeds are pollinated with the natural 2 chromosome watermelon. The product – a genetically modified watermelon with 3 chromosomes.
SO, both processes can be described as genetically modified. The second way to produce seedless watermelon is far more dangerous. I can only assumed it is used more often to produce seedless watermelons as it is more cost and time effective.
You might ask, what about organic seedless watermelons? Well, I don’t think that there is such a thing. Yes, it has been probably grown organically, but chemicals were used to alter the seeds. Thus, even certified organic melons are genetically modified food.
The Dangers of Genetically altered food to your health
Consuming genetically modified/altered food is slowly poisoning your body. It leads to accelerated aging, organ damage, reproductive disruption, immune dysfunction and insulin disorders.
Many studies have proven the connection between GM foods and several major health problems. Research has demonstrated that thousands of animals who consumed genetically modified food died while animals who ate a non-GM version of the same crop had a much longer mortality rate. It is a very scary reality!
Unfortunately, it is hard to find a real watermelon in regular stores. You usually have to go to a local farmers market to get them.
The World According to Monsanto
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Great article, thank you. Is this also the same for other fruits that are found seedless? For instance grapes? I am actually just eating some..and though maybe it is better to trow them away…
Guro, it is true for all seedless fruits and vegetables. However, if you do buy a seedless variety, make sure to buy organic. Unfortunately, grapes with seeds are hard to find nowadays.
Thanks for the reply. Do you mean that what is written in the article is wrong then? #feeling confused# : http://blog.albertsorganics.com/?p=1826
Hi Guro! What I meant is that at least when you buy organic variety, there are no synthetic pesticides sprayed during the growing process.
I just wanted to ask – isn’t there a HUGE difference between hybrids and GMOs? It seems like a big leap to say “GMOs (where you breed a plant with who knows what creature of a different species) are bad for you, therefore hybrids (breeding two plants of the same species to get a desirable trait) are also bad for you.” I can see the concern that you wouldn’t know which you are getting with the seedless watermelons, but that seems like a reason to call for the labeling of GMOs, not *necessarily* a reason not to eat hybridized seedless watermelons (unless there’s specifical evidence that _hybrids_ are bad for you). Just wondering about that.
No there isn’t a huge difference between them because unfortunately to speed up the breeding process the genetic alteration is done chemically.
Sorry, neither method of creating seedless watermelons qualifies them as GMO. The first is just advanced standard breeding techniques. The second is chemical abuse, more like chemotherapy than actual genetic manipulation. GM is actually directly manipulating the genes in the lab to change the code to one that could not occur any other way. There is no need to spread the FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) about GMOs by conflating them with other issues.
Like i said before, even so-called breeding is done chemically. To create a seedless watermelon, seed producers treat natural watermelon seed with Colchicines, a chromosome-altering chemical. Colchicines changes the chromosome number in the seeds from 2 to 4. Once this is done, the seeds are pollinated with the natural 2 chromosome watermelon. The result is an unnatural, genetically modified watermelon with 3 chromosomes.
Short of growing your own food though, or buying from a farmer you trust, there is absolutely nothing that has no contamination. Everyone that sells to big chains is most likely sold out for money. I really wish I could grow my own food though but just like most people, we live in bad climates or don’t own property to do it on.
Colchicine is approved for the treatment of gout. That was a quick factual error could spot. Are there others, in this article? My guess is yes.
I would not look at the FDA as the ultimate authority. They approve so many drugs that have more side effects than cures. They are closely linked with big pharmaceutical companies. It’s more profitable for “Big Pharma” to have more unhealthy people because that would mean more drug sales. And by the way, colchicine, a highly poisonous, alkaloid. http://journal.nzma.org.nz/journal/120-1248/2402/
These are not “genetically” modified. The one is chemically modified, which could bed detrimental. The first method has been around before mankind. Plants cross pollinate all the time. There are probably some that need to cross pollinate. I would ask you to find one fruit or vegetable available today that wasn’t a product of cross pollination. Farmers have used this practice for eons. I am totally against GMO’s as they are introducing genetic material from another species into the plant. Thus making the plant or food molecules indigestible for humans. They look good, ship well and stay fresh for ages…but have no nutritional value for our systems.
The type of breeding used to stimulate the growth of sterile watermelons could definitely be defined as “genetic modification.” Every human intervention in natural growth is dangerous. I would not trust a fruit that is not able to reproduce itself.
I think I agree with you(I want to so badly). I say think because these days, you never know what is going on with anything in the great US of A,since everything is surrounded by money and power over here in our pathetic country. If it makes money, then, sad to say,then it’s USDA approved, never mind the risk. I hate GMO’s, and I hope watermelons are not GM’d, because I eat a LOT of watermelon, I have an organic one chilling as I type…I only hope it’s safe=(((.
Hi Kiki! You are right on the money! It is getting harder and harder to trust the FDA.
My family members have taken Colchicine for gout. They were told “take it until you throw up and then stop”. It was the only thing known at the time to halt an active gout attack. Trust me nobody would let it pass their lips if they had a choice.
Have they tried any natural remedies?
So-Is the 4 chromosome watermelon used to pollinate the 2 chromosome watermelon naturally occurring in nature? Or is it the result of the chemical altering described in the second procedure? If natural, then it’s hybridization. If altered, then what? As I understand the GM process, genes are injected into the cells to change the genetic structure, creating a new kind of creature that reproduces more of its own kind. Where does chemically altering the genetic structure fit in? Thanks for this article. I haven’t seen a seeded watermelon in years.
Hi Gail! A natural watermelon is a 2 chromosome one. SO that where the chemical alteration comes in the picture. In order to create a seedless watermelon, the seed of a natural watermelon is treated with Colchicines, a chromosome-altering chemical. It changes the chromosome number in the seeds from 2 to 4. So to answer your question, 4 chromosome watermelon is not a naturally occurring one.SO when the 4 chromosome seeds are pollinated with the natural 2 chromosome watermelon, you get this genetically modified seedless watermelons with 3 chromosomes.
I want too point out that the drug Colchicine should not be confused with the homeopathic remedy for gout which is Colchicum.
I stopped eating watermelon because of the lack of flavor until we found a guy at the local farmer’s market with real watermelons. I have saved some seeds and will try and grow my own. Thank you for more reasons not to buy the seedless things.
Hi Bill! I haven’t yet found any real watermelons with seeds where I live. Let me know how the growing process turns out!
So do you guys eat bananas? Do you buy bananas from the grocery store? Are you aware that real *natural* bananas are only an inch or two long? Congrats. Every banana you have ever eaten has been a genetic mutation. Aaaaand you still eat them. Even you health nuts still put them in your smoothies. With all the chemicals! Oh no! Ugh. Humanity.
Dersey, hybrids and GMOs are not the same. With seedless watermelons, the chromosomal number has been changed chemically with colchicines. I’m not sure what you are implying in regards to bananas, but I am pretty sure you’re wrong.
THis is factually incorrect in a few ways. GMO and breeding are not the same thing. Yes you are altering the plant and the chemical method may have it’s own safety issues but to call this GMO confuses the issue. While the FDA may be a mess you did say it was not approved for use for gout which does not appear to be true.
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For a fruit or vegetable to be listed as organic and be sold organically it must be grown by natural means as stated by the USDA and GMO’s cannot be grown by natural means and legally cannot be marketed as organic. I did a speech for FFA about GMO’s to open peoples eyes to show how harmful and dangerous these crops are to our health.
Wow. Where are your sources? Who says that eating GM foods will slowly poison your body and induce all those terrifying symptoms? Your advice is invalid. This is a controversial hotly-debated biological idea and you provide not one source, yet claim all these things.
GM foods have had their DNA sequence altered in some way, whether it be inserting a foreign gene or cutting something out. This provides new combinations of genes. Hybridisation is the breeding of two different organisms in the same family together. Do you think that’s natural? There are sososooo many new combinations of genes formed – way more than inserting one gene like in transgenesis (a form of GM). An example is the liger (male lion + tigeress)! They’re sterile, just like the seedless watermelon! Yet, they most likely did occur in the wild (a long time ago when lions were populous in India and South Asia). Are they ‘natural’?