How Did Science Create An Apple That Does Not Brown?

A new type of apple will be showing up in select stores in the US this week, giving consumers a chance to experience genetic engineering first hand.

Arctic Apples is a trade name for a type of fruit that does not turn brown when exposed to air. Shoppers can buy packages of sliced Arctic Golden apples. The developer, Okanagan of British Columbia, Canada, said many retailers are eager to stock the new offering. It will initially be sold at stores in the Midwest.

The fruit is drawing interest because it was created through genetic engineering. We got in touch with Dr. Sally Mackenzie at the Center for Plant Innovation at the University of Nebraska and Dr. Patrick Byrne, professor of plant breeding and genetics at Colorado State University, to peel back the layers and find out what’s underneath this apple.

How Does It Work?

“Arctic Apples are the first genetically engineered food in the US to use gene silencing to reduce production of a naturally occurring protein,” Dr. Byrne said. “In the case of Arctic Apples, the protein whose production is reduced is polyphenol oxidase (PPO), an enzyme responsible for oxidizing phenolic compounds and causing a browning reaction in apples after slicing or bruising.”