It’s the Great Pumpkin!
In the Science section of MSNBC.com an article entitled, “Striving to breed a better pumpkin” sparked interest in lieu of the current season. According to the article released by the Associated Press, Mosanto scientists are searching for a way to genetically engineer the pumpkin to produce a sturdy peduncle, or stem, that would be ideal for the perfect carved decoration. Mosanto, a company credited for engineering soybeans and corn for particular production as well, recently purchased California-based Seminis, Incorporated in order to expand its horizons. One scientist in particular, Bill Johnson, is on the hunt for the perfect peduncle to complement the perfect jack-o’-lantern lid. Johnson’s search includes analyzing thousands of pumpkins and choosing only the ones who have a certain thickness to their flesh, an improved stem quality, or a richer color that will in theory yield the best pumpkin crops. Pumpkins can be found across the United States; however, the “Pumpkin Belt” as it is now called is the prime area for pumpkin harvesting and stretches from Illinois to New Hampshire and up to Ontario, Canada. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the harvesting of these gene-specific pumpkins yielded an average of 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkin in the year 2005 alone, estimating a profit of nearly one hundred and six million dollars!
So how do these companies produce the perfect peduncle? Breeding is conducted in California and Florida greenhouses and breed only the most perfect pumpkin crops together in order to attain the desired yield.