Clearing up the science


Terre Haute, Ind. (WTHI) – Imagine walking into the grocery store and seeing this “I’d put the tomatoes with the blueberries, the peaches with the raspberries, and I’d take the sunflower seeds and put them with the strawberries,” explained Peter Coppinger, PhD, Associate Professor of Biology at Rose-Hulman.

Excuse me, last time I checked sunflower seeds don’t resemble a berry. Well Biology Expert Peter Coppinger says neither do those sweet strawberries.

“From a botanical stand point, between raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries, only blueberries are actual berries,” said Coppinger.

Biting into science is always sweet, so what exactly is a fruit? Get this, “fruits come from flowering plants, right in the center you have the female of the plant called the ovary. When you eat a fruit you eat this portion of the plant that is swollen. When you eat fruit that is what you’re eating,” shared Coppinger.

Now I know my weather but I feel like I missed something in school about fruit.

Now it gets even more interesting, what about Ben DeVasher’s question? How do we get seedless fruit?

“You take two different varieties of fruit that have an odd number of chromosomes and you mix them together. When you do they have an odd number of chromosomes which makes them impossible to produce fruit with seeds,” explained Coppinger

“It’s like mixing a horse with a donkey, you get a mule, which is sterile and can’t reproduce. Mixing fruit is similar,” said Coppinger.

What a fascinating biology process. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you confirm your email address and acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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