When scientists alter the genetic structure of an animal or plant in order to manufacture advantageous traits in the organism, they’re engaging in what is known as genetic modification. The resulting product is a genetically modified organism (GMO).
Scientists are creating new genetically modified foods all the time, and below you’ll find some of the latest foods that have been designed with the consumer in mind.
1. Non-Browning Apples
Most people don’t like eating fruit with flesh that has become discolored. Thankfully, this never happens to Arctic apples as they have been genetically modified to be resistant to browning. They went on sale in the US in November 2017.
2. Potatoes That Don’t Bruise
The Innate potato is less prone to bruising and black spots. Furthermore, when fried, it produces less acrylamide, a substance that is suspected to cause cancer, than conventional potatoes.
3. Wheat with Good Gluten
People suffering from celiac disease could soon have their cake and eat it. At least two groups are editing out the genes for the gluten proteins that damage the guts of people with this digestive disorder. One GM wheat is actually undergoing clinical trials in Spain.
4. Pink Pineapples
They’re pink because they accumulate lycopene, the pigment that makes tomatoes red, instead of converting it into yellow beta-carotene as normal pineapples do. Lycopene is believed to have various health benefits.
The US gave the go-ahead for this sweeter variety of pineapple to be eaten in December 2016, but it’s yet to go on sale.
5. Omega-3 Rapeseed (Canola)
This seed from the rape plant is rich in beneficial omega-3 oil DHA. The idea is to market it first as fish food and then for human consumption. Last year, in the US, 1,200 hectares of rape plant was grown and harvested.
6. Lower-Saturated Fat Rapeseed Oil
Conventional rapeseed oil contains 7% saturated fats. A gene-edited variety will have half this amount.
7. High-Fiber White Bread
Gene-edited wheat gives us white flour with three times as much dietary fiber than standard white flour.
8. Bloodier Oranges
Blood oranges are extremely healthy as they’re rich in antioxidants called anthocyanins. Normal blood oranges only turn red if they experience cold nights while growing, but the GM strain is always full of anthocyanins regardless of the weather. These oranges are not yet on sale.
9. Bananas with a Boost
The matoke cooking banana is a staple food in Uganda. The GM variety contains provitamin A, a lack of which can lead to blindness. It’s currently being field tested in Uganda and could go on sale in 2021.
10. Golden Rice
Rice designed to reduce vitamin A deficiency has been under development for decades but has yet to reach the market. However, it received a big boost earlier this year when Canada, Australia, and New Zealand declared it safe for humans, meaning there would be no regulatory issues if those countries imported food containing small quantities of the rice.