Zucchini, commonly known as a summer squash in the United States, has been approved as a GMO vegetable. This means that there has been several varieties of genetically-modified zucchini approved for retail sale in the market. In general, GMO zucchini types are modified to be virus resistant, and are only approved for sale in the United States and Canada.
Virus Resistant Zucchini
One main goal of genetically modified vegetables is to improve the overall health of the plant or crop itself. In the case of zucchini, one benefit was to make this summer vegetable virus resistant. In zucchini, two envelope proteins are present which protect the vegetable from virus attacks. There are two variations of virus-resistant zucchini available on the market in the United States and Canada.
Research is also being done to create genetically modified zucchinis which are resistant to fungus and fungal infections. Creating a fungus-resistant zucchini is a goal of GMO researchers, but a fungus-resistant zucchini has not made its way to the market yet, as of 2010, not even in the United States or Canada.
European Field Trials
Several field trials have taken place in Europe in an attempt to create a genetically modified zucchini. There were three trials in Italy, two in Spain and one in France. These trials took place from 1996 to 1997 and ultimately did not lead to the mass production or market approval of a genetically modified zucchini plant. It was hoped that a virus-resistant zucchini would enter the European market, but the field trials were not successful.
- zucchini image by Silvia Bogdanski from Fotolia.com