Future Of Genetically Modified Food May Lie In New Apple

Would you buy a genetically modified apple that resists browning for weeks rather than only a few minutes after being sliced? The answer may come before the next Arctic apple begins to discolor.

Apples turn brown when their flesh is exposed to a certain enzyme, such as when the skin is broken or bruised. Okanagan reduced that enzyme and claims the sliced apples can last up to three weeks without oxidizing. While the company acknowledges there’s nothing “wrong” with browning, browned fruit is more likely to be thrown away, especially by children, according to the company.

To Jenkins, the Arctic apple experiment is more about putting a positive spin on GMOs. He said companies genetically altering food are battling a perception by a large chunk of the population that GMOs are bad for some unclear reason. If the public turns against GMOs, Jenkins said not only would that mark the end of genetically modified fruits and vegetables, but “anything” made with GMOs – “all fast food, all processed food, all soda pop, all everything.” It’s the producers’ hope, Jenkins said, that a GMO product can be developed and widely accepted.

“If they can say, ‘Look, everybody loves the Arctic apple. See, GMOs aren’t that bad,’ then suddenly everyone will be talking about GMOs in a different kind of way and nobody will resist them,” he said. “Nobody will be demanding labels for them, and it will be a PR bonanza.”

According to Okanagan’s website, the first two varieties of Arctic apples will be the Arctic Granny and the Arctic Golden. Fuji is next in line with others to follow.

Wisconsin Public Radio

GMO Tobacco Plants Reveal the Promise of Hyper-Productive Food Crops

Researchers specializing in genetic modification have developed a super­powered strain of tobacco plants that grow substantially faster and more efficiently than conventional crops, according to a new report published in the journal Science.

How did the experiment work? The researchers inserted genes into the DNA of tobacco plants that they believed would increase three specific proteins that are involved in photosynthesis, the process of turning sunlight into energy.

“The objective was simply to boost the level of three proteins already present in tobacco,” Long explained. By boosting these proteins, the researchers reasoned that the plants would grow more with the same amount of sunlight. Once they had produced multiple modified tobacco plants, they selected the three most productive specimens and planted them alongside regular tobacco crops.

Of the modified plants, two were 20 percent more productive than the standard strain, and one was 14 percent more productive.

In other words, the GMOs were bigger and better.

Across America Patch

3 GMO Potatoes Get USDA Approval

This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture formally approved two new types of genetically engineered potatoes, both of which were developed by Simplot, the Idaho-based spud giant.

It’s hardly an exaggeration to say that over the past two decades, the agriculture industry in the U.S. has wholeheartedly embraced GMO crops with gusto. Almost all of the soy and corn grown in the U.S.—upwards of 90 percent for both crops—is genetically modified. Same goes for canola. More than half of sugar beets are also grown from GMO seeds.

The three new varieties—Ranger Russet, Atlantic and Russet Burbank—all follow that first generation in that they are designed to minimize bruising and black spots, as well as reduce the amount of a chemical that is potentially carcinogenic that develops when potatoes are cooked at high temperatures. The trio of 2.0 cultivars have also been engineered to resist the pathogen that causes late blight, the disease that led to the great Irish potato famine in the mid-19th century and for “enhanced cold storage,” a trait that may be of particular interest to potato chip makers, according to The Associated Press.

EcoWatch