Tomato genetics

Regarding the editorial "Hands Off the Tomatoes," Jan. 20: I am appalled by the Monitor's bias. The editorial gives legitimacy to Jeremy Rifkin's group without investigating the positive aspects of genetic engineering.

For example, the very qualities the editorial decries in the modern tomato - dry and tasteless - would be improved by the genetically altered tomato. The tomato would have a longer "shelf life," and it could be picked in a riper stage, having a more natural, vine-ripened flavor one desires. We have been genetically engineering plants and animals for centuries by selective breeding and other methods. These gene-transfer methods are a technological step, needing careful supervision, which will enable peopl e to enjoy a more abundant and healthier food supply. Doris D. Cruickshank, Dayton, Ore.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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