London, Feb 2 : Now you would easily be able to chop onions without watery eyes, for scientists at the New Zealand Crop and Food Research have created a tear-free onion, by genetically altering the vegetable to crush the enzyme that produces tears in eyes.
The study led by Dr Colin Eady, in collaboration with Japanese scientists, has successfully controlled the enzyme by using a phenomenon called RNA interference.
The research team said that by stopping sulphur compounds from being converted to the tearing agent and redirecting them into compounds responsible for flavour and health, the process could even improve the onion.
"By shutting down the lachrymatory factor synthase gene, we have stopped valuable sulphur compounds being converted to the tearing agent, and instead made them available for redirection into compounds, some of which are known for their flavour and health properties," the Telegraph quoted Dr Eady, as saying.
"We anticipate that the health and flavour profiles will actually be enhanced," he added.
World-renowned onion scientist, Prof Michael Havey from the University of Wisconsin, said that tearless onions would become a mainstay in household kitchens around the world.
"If the research progresses well, would like to see them become the household and industry norm within the next decade," said Dr Eady.