At Home: An Apple A Day
What looks like an apple, smells like an apple, and tastes like an apple?but doesn’t turn brown like an apple? The answer: an apple. That is, an apple from the ?Arctic? variety bioengineered by a specialty fruit grower in Summerland, B.C.
As the CBC reports, the new strain of apple contains technology that suppresses ?the enzyme that induces browning.? An Australian company has used the same biotechnology to develop potatoes that avoid the same problem.
Okanagan Specialty Fruits, which has petitioned the United States Department of Agriculture for approval of the apple, believes that ?the technology would lower the cost of producing fresh slices,? rendering apples more popular and more accessible.
But GMO crops are controversial, and not everyone’s enthusiastic about the apple breakthrough. Apple growers are leery about growing a variety that could be unpopular with consumers, and are also concerned ?about cross-pollination of conventional trees with genetically modified ones if they were planted in close proximity.?
And Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the public interest organization Center for Food Safety feels that the GMO apples won’t benefit the consumer, whose ability to determine fresh fruits will be hampered. As Kimbrell told reporters, ?A Botox apple is not what people are looking for.?
Around the World: First Native Americans in Europe
Archaeology, linguistics, and the study of old manuscripts?all have contributed to the historical record of the peoples and cultures of this world. Now there’s a new area to explore for a fuller knowledge of often untold stories: the evidence found in DNA.
As the National Geographic Daily News reports, our ideas of the history of the western world may have been shaken up since a new DNA study, which suggests that ?a Native American woman may have voyaged to Europe with Vikings.? The study, which investigated a type of DNA That’s only passed on from mothers to their children, discovered that a number of Icelanders possessed ?a genetic variation similar to one found mostly in Native Americans.?
Viking-era Icelanders are believed to have reached Canada just prior to A.D. 1000. Although previously nothing in the historical record suggests that a First Nations woman accompanied the Vikings back to Iceland, the study’s authors, after analyzing the genetic and historical record, theorize that this is the ?best explanation? for the genetic strain’s appearance in modern Icelanders.
Although admittedly It’s ?a big mystery,? and further research is required, It’s worth pursuing. As Hans Gulløv, a historian with the Greenland Research Centre in Copenhagen, told reporters, sometimes ?we have to write history anew.?