The old axiom about ‘an apple a day’ may now require an update. Now that researchers have mapped the genetic code of the apple, crisper, juicier and, yes, even healthier versions of the fruit may soon be on the way.
According to a report by Fiona Macrae, writing for the UK’s Daily Mail Online, the genetic information from the Golden Delicious variety is already being used to breed red-fleshed apples with more antioxidants, which are reputed to deliver such health benefits as fighting cancer and heart disease and delaying or preventing Alzheimer’s.
We may even see apples that suppress appetites, arriving as soon as five years down the road.
The decoding of the fruit’s DNA has also provided a glimpse into the origins of the apple. The data indicates that the plant that became an apple tree was born about 65 million years ago, when it is believed that a comet crashed into the Earth and wiped out the dinosaurs.
Now that the sequence of the apple’s genome is known, scientists will be able to track the genes which control the characteristics that are most desired by consumers—such as crispiness, juiciness and flavor. They will also be able to identify negative traits that could then be bred out.
Aren’t you glad apple season has begun? Let’s bake a pie!
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