It turns out that those vegetables and fruits that we eat every day would hardly have been recognized by our ancestors 300-400 years ago. Over the 12, 000 years of agriculture, farmers have developed a myriad of ways to improve crops. And modern genetics generally works "miracles", the consequences of which we are just beginning to disentangle.
According to Bruce Chesie, executive director of the University of Illinois Biotechnology Center, modern plants and vegetables have undergone such changes that they will never survive in the wild without human help.
As a result of discoveries made by geneticists in the 80s, scientists learned how to manipulate individual fragments of DNA from different plants, which eventually led to the creation of genetically modified products in 1994. In them, scientists combined the genes of several plants, which gave the final species the necessary, in their opinion, qualities, for example, resistance to pests or size.
Now let's get back to basics. This is how the artist Giovanni Stanci, who lived in the middle of the 17th century, saw a wild watermelon with six separate cores. We know what their genetically modified "descendants" look like and how they taste.
And this fruit, cut in half, is nothing more than a wild banana found in Papua New Guinea, the ancient ancestor of modern bananas that adorn grocery and supermarket counters:
There is very little in common between wild eggplant and its current incarnation:
No one would have thought that this unremarkable root was actually a wild carrot, abundant in Persia and Asia Minor in the 10th century. She settled in Europe about 5000 years ago. Until now, it can be found in regions with a temperate climate.
Corn is one of the oldest agricultural crops on Earth. This is what wild corn looks like, which was cultivated by ancient farmers living in the territory of modern Mexico:
What the future holds for vegetables and fruits
Most likely, the modernization of plants will continue in the coming years. Farmers will strive to make vegetables and fruits even tastier, juicier, larger and easier to grow. These processes will lead to a reduction in the cost of food. This means that in the near future, humanity is unlikely to face extinction from hunger.