Arctic® apples require no additional pesticides

Arctic® apples do not require any additional pesticide sprays, nor do they need to be treated any differently than their conventional counterparts. Growers can manage an Arctic® Granny tree in the exact same manner as a conventional Granny Smith, and the same goes for any other Arctic® variety. This is one of the advantages of improving attributes using the precision of biotechnology – specific traits can be targeted without affecting others. However, we have seen suggestions that “Arctic® apples may require increased pesticide usage” and, while this isn’t true, we do understand where this misunderstanding originated. The role of polyphenol
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The simple science behind Arctic® apples

“Simple” might not be the first word you’d associate with biotechnology. But, it fits when it comes to the precise science behind Arctic® apples! Compared to conventional breeding, which has much less predictable results, Arctic® apples are quite simple indeed. Think about the genetic traits we pass on to our children. Perhaps you’d be thrilled if your kids inherited your blue eyes, but not so much if they get your big ears. Well, it often comes down to luck, and just as you can’t choose which traits your children inherit, it’s the same with fruit breeding. You might get a low-browning apple,
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How we introduce the nonbrowning trait in Arctic® apples

While a doctorate in molecular biology is needed to fully understand how biotechnology can create new foods like our Arctic® apples, even the basics can be tough to grasp without a background in science. Indeed that’s one of the main reasons biotechnology remains controversial, despite the most reputable scientific bodies agreeing on its safety and benefits. Even so, we do our best to simply explain the key concepts of how we make apples “Arctic”: When Arctic® apples are growing in the orchard or are part of your lunch, they are essentially the same as their conventional counterparts until you bruise, bite or
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Watch: Arctic® apple stays white!

With Arctic® apples still undergoing deregulation, it can sometimes be a challenge to demonstrate the impact of the nonbrowning trait. But seeing is believing, so take a look at our 24-hour time-lapsed video comparing a sliced Arctic® Golden to a conventional Golden Delicious. We think you’ll agree that the difference is clear! Even after just a short amount of time, the conventional fruit’s flesh becomes brown and unappealing. It’s probably not an apple that you, or your picky kids, would consider eating. The Arctic® Golden, on the other hand, maintains its original color throughout the entire 24 hours without the
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Addressing common misconceptions of Arctic® orchards and fruit

During the recent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) public comment period on Arctic® Granny and Arctic® Golden apples, a number of re-occurring misconceptions arose which are addressed in this blog. Agricultural biotechnology, which consumers are self-admittedly uniformed about, is a complicated subject. When there’s a new product that utilizes this technology, myths and incorrect information commonly follow. Biotechnology is a polarizing topic for many and unfortunately, this has led to a vocal minority propagating erroneous statements that mislead the general public.  Perhaps the most widely spread myth is that Arctic® apple orchards will cross-pollinate with organic orchards, causing them to
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A (Genetically-Modified) Apple a Day…

There has been significant media coverage on Arctic® Granny and Golden apples since the U.S. Department of Agriculture opened the 60-day comment period on OSF’s petition for deregulation July 13, 2012. Few of these articles are written by as well-credentialed authors as Henry Miller and Robert Wager, though.  Dr. Henry I. Miller, MS, MD served for fifteen years in the US Food and Drug Administration amongst numerous other positions relating to biotechnology and regulatory processes. Robert Wager has a BSc in microbiology, a master’s in biochemistry and has been heavily involved in educating the public on agricultural biotechnology for over
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Arctic® Apples help show fruits’ true quality

We have heard some people wonder, “since Arctic® apples are nonbrowning, won’t that mean older and lower quality fruit can look better than it really is?” The answer is that not only will Arctic® apples rot just like other apples, they also don’t show superficial damage which makes it much easier to tell when an apple really has gone bad. As discussed before, we have silenced the gene sequence that controls the production of polyphenol oxidase (PPO), which initiates enzymatic browning in apples. Enzymatic browning (a.k.a. primary browning) occurs when an apple’s cells are damaged, such as through cutting, bruising or
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The future is bright for antioxidants

Almost everyone who goes grocery shopping has seen a slew of antioxidant products spring up on the shelves over the past few years. Ten years ago, most people had never even heard of an “antioxidant”, but according to a recent report, “29 percent of U.S. adults are seeking out high-antioxidant groceries”. What’s more, this number is expected to climb even higher over the next ten years, as consumers gain further knowledge of the numerous potential health benefits of antioxidants, such as anti-cancer and immunity-boosting properties. While plenty of cereals, breads, nutritional supplements and even beauty care products now emphasize antioxidant
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Demystifying Arctic® apples

Readers: We are pleased to introduce you to a key member of OSF’s staff. Science team lead John Armstrong grew up spending summers in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, and returned there to live and to work for OSF in 1999. He earned his doctorate in molecular biology from the University of Manitoba in 1993. When not applying his impressive credentials in the lab, John is an avid outdoorsman. This is his first appearance here, but not his last! – Julia I’m often asked why we chose a nonbrowning apple as our first project. In fact, the food science community began
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How’d we “make” a nonbrowning apple?

When my friends find out about my work with Arctic® Apples, invariably one of the first questions they ask is: How’d we do that? That is, how’d we “make” a nonbrowning apple? Here’s what I tell them: First, a quick biochemistry lesson.  When the cell of a typical apple is ruptured – for example, by biting, slicing or bruising – polyphenol oxidase (PPO) found in one part of the cell mixes with polyphenolics found in another part of the cell. (PPO is a plant enzyme. Polyphenolics are one of the many types of chemical substrates that serve various purposes, including
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