GM apples that don’t brown to reach US shelves soon
A US synthetic-biology conglomerate plans to begin marketing genetically modified apples; this produce would not have the label GMOs. The launch of the so-called Arctic apples are genetically altered to suppress browning and may be offered for sale as bagged slices in up to 400 stores in the Midwest and Southern California. This launch is the first significant test of a GMO whose modification is meant to appeal to consumers, rather than help farmers increase production.
The Golden Delicious apples are modified using a technique called gene silencing. The research team engineered the apple’s DNA to produce less polyphenol oxidase (PPO), the enzyme that causes the flesh to turn brown. The apples were developed by Okanagan Specialty Fruits, a privately owned company acquired for $41 million in 2015 by the Maryland biotech, Intrexon. Other divisions of that company are already marketing genetically modified salmon, cloned cattle, and self-destructing mosquitoes.
The company plans to sell the apples as bags of pre-sliced fruit but say they will not be labeled as “produced with genetic engineering” and will not come with any other packaging identifying them as GMOs…
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