CURRENT BIODIVERSITY CONCERNS
Elpidio V. Peria
15 February 2015
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, last Friday the 13th of February, regulators in the US approved the first-ever biotech or genetically-modified, apple in spite of opposition by organic producers and GMO critics as reported in a news release by Science Daily.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) approved two genetically engineered apple varieties dubbed as Arctic Granny and Arctic Golden designed to resist browning that have been developed by the Canadian company Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc.
The apple however will only be available in 2017 in small quantities, since, as reported in the New York Times, trees will still have to be planted and those trees need to mature before they bear fruit.
The same paper also reported that what was genetically modified in the apple are its enzymes that cause the fruit to turn brown when the cells in the apple are injured, like when it is sliced. This was seen by its developer as something that consumers like and will minimize waste as browned-over apples are not usually pleasing to the eye and is no longer eaten.
Will this be made available in the Philippines? That remains to be seen. There is still a pending case in the Supreme Court concerning genetically-engineered eggplants that came from a decision in the Court of Appeals not so many months ago.