This Is What Science Is For: Creating No-Tears Onions

Why is the human race trying to explore Mars and measure subsurface lunar temperatures when there are scientific challenges still unmet here on Earth, like the need for onions that don't make us cry or shrimp that don't need to be deveined?

The researchers at Bayer have their priorities straight: NPR reports today they've developed a tearless onion after three decades of experimentation and cross-breeding. Scientists named their creation the Sunion, and it's a result of breeding together onions that had fewer pungent, eye-stinging aromas. Bayer's researchers used gas chromatography to observe volatile compounds inside the onions that could activate our tears.

Sunions seem to do the trick. Prior to their public launch, Bayer brought together groups of people prone to crying while chopping onions—I am very much in this camp—to try out the tearless onions against conventional onions. They preferred the Sunions five to one. Last month, the first Sunions rolled into stores; with 2.4 million of the new breed available in stores through March or April; by 2023, that number could be as high as 200 million, hopefully putting the miracle of no-cry onions within my reach.

Hats off to you, Science!™, for creating a product that will improve the day-to-day lives of millions of people, much like penicillin or the microwave. Now that you've solved that food quandary though, I'm wondering if you also couldn't bioengineer the following: veinless shrimp, rindless pomegranates, pre-peeled potatoes, Greek yogurt that isn't the consistency of cement, and odorless canned tuna. I'd be grateful!