Here is one kind of genetic modification that we might not mind: scientist Songpol Somsri has been working to develop a deodorized strain of durian, the Southeast Asian fruit famous for its strong, off-putting odor. After six versions, he's close to an unscented one that doesn't sacrifice taste. Or does it?
Durian purists claim that eating the fruit devoid of its naturally pungent smell is much like plugging your nose through dinner -- it ruins the taste-smell chemistry that sensory experts refer to as "retro-nasal olfaction." The creamy-fleshed fruit's odor has been likened to gasoline, gym socks, and, by those who can appreciate its pungency, simultaneous "heaven and hell." Songpol defends his Frankenstein fruit, claiming that the point is to create a new audience, not to convince the purists of its merits. Durian enthusiasts won't budge. What do you think? Pick one up at your local Asian market and see, or rather smell, for yourself.
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