It’s probably one of the most common table talk conversations of the summer. When a watermelon is cut and the seeds are not perceived, a suspicion, a worry, a distrust, even a fear emanates from us. It seems unnatural, scientific witchcraft. The term “transgenic” will come out disdainfully and quickly from the person who has the fastest tongue…
However, to tell the truth, this watermelon variety is not a transgenic, but a hybrid that has been in production since the 1930s. Basically, the male pollen of a diploid plant (i.e. the number of chromosomes is doubled) is inoculated into a tetraploid female plant (i.e. the number of chromosomes is multiplied by 4), thus generating a sterile triploid individual (the number of chromosomes is tripled) that consequently does not produce seeds. Something similar happens when a donkey is crossed with a mare: the result is a mule without reproductive capacity.
These watermelons can be consumed without any problem and are just as delicious and healthy as watermelons with seeds.
Tetraploid lines are obtained by inoculating colchicine into diploid plants, an alkaloid from autumn crocus that causes chromosome duplication.