Coming soon: Super-healthy apples, say scientists who claim to have mapped the delicious fruit’s genetic code.
An international team has cracked the genetic code of the Golden Delicious apple variety, paving the way for crunchier, juicier and healthier fruit, reports the ‘Daily Mail’.
Breakthroughs are already being used in breeding
Red-fleshed apples with more antioxidants, which are beneficial
With health benefits ranging from keeping joints healthy to warding
Stop Alzheimer’s disease.
“Now that we have the apple genome sequenced, we will be able to identify the genes that control the traits that our sensory scientists have identified as most desirable.
Consumers — crispness, juiciness and flavor,” Chief Scientist
Dr. Roger Helens of Plant and Food Research in New Zealand.
Although breeders try to cross only the best plants, the slow growth of apple trees means they don’t know whether they have succeeded until eight years later.
Now breeders will be able to screen seedlings for key genes, greatly speeding up the process. Traits that inhibit production can be bred more easily, according to findings published in the journal ‘Nature Genetics’.
The company has already identified some of the genes that control the color of an apple’s flesh and its flavor, and is using the data to create apples with higher than normal levels of health-enhancing antioxidants.
A sweetened version is being developed and may go on sale by 2015. Other plans include increasing the amount of appetite-suppressing compounds already present in apples.
A team of nearly 100 scientists from five different countries has shed new light on the roots of apple DNA decoding.
The research suggests that around 65 million years ago, around the time a comet is thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs, the tree that would eventually give rise to the apple tree underwent a massive and rapid genetic change, including many of its genes. similar to
Experts welcomed the research.
Amit Dhingra of Washington State University said: “Before genome sequencing, all we could do was correlate traits with genes. Now we can point to a particular gene and say, ‘This is one; this gene is responsible for the trait’.”
“The trait of interest could be, for example a disease, which is why sequencing the human genome was an important milestone. Or the trait could be for something desirable, like the smell of a piece of fruit.”