Biotechnology: Arctic Apple and the Innate Potato
Innate potatoes are produced from J. R Simplot and they focus on the characteristics of the consumer and not the producer. The idea behind this potato was to minimize waste and the acrylamide produced by fried potatoes. Researchers cut out four different genes in mature potatoes by generating and adding sequences of genes that are gotten from wild and other variants of potatoes. The final result produced a potato that does not get bruised or turn brown, and has a lower amount of acrylamide that is known to cause cancer in humans (Staropoli, Nicholas).
Arctic apples, on the other hand, are genetically altered apples produced by Okanagan Specialty Fruits (OSF) that do not change colour when cut (Xu, Kenong). The transgene PGAS represents these four groups of genes. To suppress the expression of these PPO genes, OSF created a transgene comprising four sequences derived from PGAS. The transgene PGAS is essentially a hybrid gene from Apple DNA which cannot translate into a protein. However, over-expression of the transgene would, in turn, degrade the messenger RNA (mRNA) from both the transgene and the four representative PPO genes and others they represent, resulting in non-browning (Xu, Kenong).Both crops were developed using the RNA Interference (RNAi) suppression technique. RNAi is a powerful tool that helps to expose gene function reducing or knocking down native gene expression in an organism (Stewart, C. Neal). Inherently expressed RNAi can be used to silence genes throughout a plant’s development or can be expressed conditionally to provide temporary control over the onset of gene silencing (Stewart, C. Neal).The RNAi technique used by OSF to develop Arctic apples is known as co-suppression. Co-suppression involves transferring a transgene of sequence derived from target genes. Over-expressing the transgene will, in turn, lead to degradation of mRNA expressed from both the transgene and the target gene(s) (Xu, Kenong). In the apple genome, the transgene PGAS is over-expressed degrading the mRNA from both the transgene and the four representative polyphenol oxidase (PPO) genes and others they represent, resulting in non-browning (Xu, Kenong). In the Innate potato, Simplot introduced a vector called pSIM1278, which incorporates two silencing cassettes into the potato. Expression of the first cassette lowers transcript levels for the Asn1 (asparagine synthetase-1) and Ppo5 (polyphenol oxidase-5) genes, limiting the formation of the acrylamide precursor asparagine, and the formation of impact-induced black spot bruise that occurs when the enzyme polyphenol oxidase oxidizes phenols to produce dark pigments. The foods have no additional nutritional benefits from their parent crops. They, however, have physiologic expressions that differ from the native plants. Innate potatoes have black spot bruise resistance reducing post-harvest losses. They produce low levels of acrylamide when fried. Furthermore, they have late blight resistance and cold storage capability (Staropoli, Nicholas).The most perceptible difference in the Arctic apples is non-browning when cutting and exposed to air. The non-browning element also retains their juice, making the color of their juice close to that from fresh fruit (Xu, Kenong).The modifications are meant to benefit producers, suppliers, and consumers of the products. The innate potato’s resistance to black spot bruising and the Arctic apple’s non-browning characteristic ensure higher supplies to the processors, especially the fast food processors. Consumers also get a more aesthetically pleasing product.The companies that produce these foods have not provided enough evidence to show that they will not have unintended impacts on human health and the environment in the future. For example, critics have criticized OSF for not carrying out more tests on the consequences of the genetic change to the apple tree, as opposed to just the fruit (Dewey, Caitlin; Center for Food Safety).The researchers are targeting specific genes that are a part of a larger gene family and turning them off. This process raises the question of whether there is a possibility of turning of the other genes in the family. For instance, concerns are that turning off the four PPO (Carter 2012) targeted genes in Arctic Apple could end up turning off the other six closely related genes (Center for Food Safety). In spite of all the issues raised, these foods have been shown to be less wasteful, reducing post-harvest losses from producer or farmer to the store and consumer. If their prices do not vary significantly from their mother crops, then I would consider purchasing and eating them.Work citedStewart, C. Neal. Plant Biotechnology and Genetics. Knoxville, Tennessee, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2008.Simplot, J.R. "Innate® Potato | Sustainable Potatoes | Simplot Plant Sciences | Innatepotato". Innatepotatoes.Com, 2017, http://www.innatepotatoes.com/.Carter, Neal. Petition For Determination Of Nonregulated Status: Arctic Apples (Malus X Domestica) Events GD743 and GS784. Summerland, BC V0H 1Z0, Canada, Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc., PO Box 1533, 2012, https://www.aphis.usda.gov/brs/aphisdocs/10_16101p.pdf.Xu, Kenong. "An Overview of Arctic Apples: Basic Facts and Characteristics". NEW YORK FRUIT QUARTERLY, Vol. 21, no. Issue 3, 2013, pp. 8-10. http://nyshs.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Pages-8-10-from-NYFQ-Book-Fall-2013-4.pdf. Xu, Kenong. "Arctic Apples: A Look Back and Forward". NEW YORK FRUIT QUARTERLY, Vol. 23, no. Issue 2, 2015, pp. 21-24. http://nyshs.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Xu-Pages-21-24-NYFQ-Book-Summer-2015-4.pdf.Dewey, Caitlin. "The Apple That Never Browns Wants To Change Your Mind About Genetically Modified Foods". The Washington Post, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/01/23/the-apple-that-never-browns-wants-to-change-your-mind-about-genetically-modified-foods/?utm_term=.c71ef86f5634. Center for Food Safety. Comments To USDA/APHIS On Plant Pest Risk Assessment And Environmental Assessment For Determination Of Nonregulated Status Of Apples Genetically Engineered To Resist Browning. Center for Food Safety, Riverdale, Georgia, 2013, http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/files/refs-added-cfs-comments-on-docket-no-aphis-2012-0025-arctic-apples--with-references_09957.pdf. Staropoli, Nicholas. "FDA Approves GMO Potato that Resists Blight that Caused Irish Potato Famine | Genetic Literacy Project". Genetic Literacy Project, 2016, https://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2016/01/14/fda-approves-gmo-potato-resists-blight-caused-irish-potato-famine/.
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