A small company is trying to bring to market a genetically engineered apple that does not turn brown when sliced or bruised. But it has much of the rest of the apple industry seeing red.
Arctic Apples, which would first be available in the Golden Delicious and Granny Smith varieties, contain a synthetic gene that sharply reduces production of polyphenol oxidase, an enzyme responsible for the browning. The gene does not come from another species. Rather, it contains DNA sequences from four of the apple’s own genes that govern production of polyphenol oxidase. Putting an extra copy of a gene into a plant can activate a self-defense mechanism known as RNA interference that shuts down both the extra copy and the endogenous gene.
The company, Okanagan Specialty Fruits, says the non-browning apple will prove popular with consumers and food service companies and help increase sales of apples, in part by making sliced apples more attractive to serve or sell.
The Agriculture Department is expected on Friday to open a 60-day public comment period on Okanagan’s application for regulatory approval of the genetically modified apple trees. A public comment period just ended in Canada, where the company is also seeking approval.
- Growers Fret Over a New Apple That Won’t Turn Brown (nytimes.com)
- Why We Should Think Twice About Non-Browning Apples (theatlanticwire.com)
- That Fresh Look, Genetically Buffed (thesciencebulletin.wordpress.com)
- More on GE trees: Growers Fret Over a New Apple That Won’t Turn Brown (climate-connections.org)
- Non-Browning GM Apple Worries BC Fruit Growers (theepochtimes.com)
- You May Never Have To Eat A Brown Apple Again (huffingtonpost.com)
- Genetically engineered apples that won’t turn brown stir up controversy (theverge.com)
- Why Do Cut Apples Turn Brown (wanttoknowit.com)