Re: Solving World Problems: Hunger

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Mon Jan 28 2002 - 17:04:49 MST

On Mon, 28 Jan 2002, E. S. OTerick wrote:

> We should replace the trees that don't bear fruit with ones that do.
> Imagine for the next day that every tree you see is full of fruit
> and imagine the savings on your grocery bill.

Its more complex than that. Most fruit bearing trees require
semi-tropical climates. The only exceptions I can think of are
perhaps apple and pear trees. What one want is a generic
fruit-tree genome platform onto which one grafts environmental
specificities (temperature adaptation, salt water tolerance, etc.)
followed by specific fruit generation "programs".

I suspect it is a fair way down the road (a decade?) since we don't
have the complete genome sequence for any tree yet. I believe
that tree genomes are rather large, so most biologists aren't
in any hurry to sequence them.

Here is a question for the group -- A show on PBS about the
Bristlecone Pine Tree (that lives 5000+ years) indicated that
no cell in the tree is older than 30 years. But over a 5000
year lifespan one has to ask -- why don't trees get cancer?
(Tree burls might be thought of as "cancers", but they are generally
thought to be a response to insects or viruses. In any case
they seem to be rarer in trees than cancers are in animals).


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