Apples that have been tweaked to never go brown are hitting store shelves soon. Sean Dowling has more:
Last week at the biotech conference SynBioBeta, I swiped one of Okanagan Specialty Fruits’ Arctic Apples and put it in my purse. The Arctic Apple is the first genetically engineered apple, modified so that when it is cut, it doesn’t turn an unappetizing shade of brown. When I got home, I sliced it up and stuck it in the fridge. A day later, it was still the same firm, crisp white. Five days later it was only starting to take on hints of brown. I checked the apple this morning, a week and a half after slicing it up, and it still looks fresher than most apples just an hour or two after being cut. I put some in my yogurt. Not bad.
The Arctic Apple is a great example of the kinds of things that might happen when you fuse modern genomic technologies with agriculture. Neal Carter, president of Okanagan Specialty Fruits and a descendent of many generations of apple farmers, said that the Arctic Apple was conceived as a way of increasing apple consumption and decreasing apple waste.
“There’s an awful lot of apples that go to waste,” Carter told Gizmodo from the midst of the apple harvest at his company farm in British Columbia. “We’ve seen apple consumption decline on a per capita basis over the last few decades, because they’re not seen as convenient. When they started selling cut baby carrots, it more than doubled consumption. We were looking for ways to rebrand apples to make them more convenient.”