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Apple Gene for Red Color Found

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the and-blue-and-purple-and-orange dept.

Biotech 180

FiReaNGeL writes "Researchers have located the gene that controls the red color of apples — a discovery that may lead to bright new apple varieties. 'The red color in apple skin is the result of anthocyanins, the natural plant compounds responsible for blue and red colours in many flowers and fruits,' says the leader of the CSIRO. By identifying master genes that were activated by light, they were able to pinpoint the gene that controls the formation of anthocyanins in apples. 'As well as giving apples their rosy red hue, anthocyanins are also antioxidants with healthy attributes, giving us plenty of reasons to study how the biochemical pathway leading to apple color is regulated,' researchers said."

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Does that mean (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17061480)

Were going to be seeing Red iPods soon

Re:Does that mean (2, Funny)

alamandrax (692121) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061546)

finally, they can make those red nosed reindeer we keep hearing about. i'll bet it'll look great in front of a K-mart. let's get martha to pitch in.

Re:Does that mean (4, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061560)

You mean these [apple.com] ? I think your gene pool may have an active "slow on the uptake" gene. :P

Re:Does that mean (1)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 7 years ago | (#17062040)

Listening to those earbuds at such a high volume may have made his neurons a little slow on reuptake, too.

colors (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17061486)

orange apples incoming

now apples and oranges shall be COMPARABLE!!!

Re:Apples & Oranges (4, Funny)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061516)

Already are [improb.com] my friend. Already are.

Re:colors (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17061920)

Apple Corp called, they want their logo back.

Thank you! I will be here all night!

Re:colors (2, Funny)

Salvance (1014001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17062286)

Now all they need to do is make all fruits LOOK the same, but taste different. That would be fun, although a bit of a pain in the grocery store I suspect. You'd have all those prankster kids grabbing the kumquat flavored generifruit and putting them in the banana flavored generifruit bins.

Think of the marketing potential (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17061502)

Now in stores, they'll be able to have Apples in Blueberry, Grape, Lime, Strawberry and Tangerine colours. Oh wait...

Re:Think of the marketing potential (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17061884)

How about Apple [apple.com] in a Blackberry [www.blackberry] ?

Re:Think of the marketing potential (1)

NoCorR (929702) | more than 7 years ago | (#17062008)

10 for $5 with Plus Card.

The Terrible Tinkerer. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17061520)

""Researchers have located the gene that controls the red color of apples -- a discovery that may lead to bright new apple varieties. "

How about we answer, "why?" before messing around with things.

Re:The Terrible Tinkerer. (4, Interesting)

metlin (258108) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061544)

Why not?

It is the inherent human curiosity to do something just because.

The insatiable curiosity, the urge to do something, to tamper, to tinker for no reason except that we can.

If we asked why for everything that has happened in the past several thousand years, we'd not be where we are today.

The Terrible Tinkerer Trippin over his feet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17061642)

"If we asked why for everything that has happened in the past several thousand years, we'd not be where we are today."

Yay to global warming, ice cap melting, deforestation, and enviromental pollution. Love that headlong rush.

Re:The Terrible Tinkerer Trippin over his feet. (5, Insightful)

metlin (258108) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061846)

How about -- not at the mercy of nature as we once were, comfortable living, increased life expectancy, understanding our universe and our world better than we ever did and so on?

I think Slashdotters are becoming a whiny bunch.

Sure, there are problems in this world. Nobody is denying that.

But guess what? Civilization would not have happened if someone hadn't been curious in the first place -- to see what that piece of meat tasted like. To use that stone as a tool and to build and create.

Instead, you'd be running on a very green, pristine Earth for your life from a predator.

I think I'd rather have this, thank you very much.

Re:The Terrible Tinkerer Trippin over his feet. (1)

jpardey (569633) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061890)

Good for you. No one is saying that there should be no technology, just that there should be some thought. What is burning all this coal doing? What is going to happen if we keep hunting Dodos? Should I drive to work, or walk to the bus and lose some weight? Also, I don't think humans were as weak in nature as you portray them.

Re:The Terrible Tinkerer Trippin over his feet. (3, Insightful)

metlin (258108) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061926)

Technology brings rapid change to society and system, there is no shying away from that.

Let's see, all that burning coal has brought humans to regions in this world that could not sustain human civlization.

If all that burning coal is harmful, use nuclear fuel. If nuclear waste disposal becomes a problem, find a better source. The idea is to keep at it and not stop something because it also has potential for misuse.

Today, you may wipe out the dodos, but tomorrow you may have advanced enough technology to recreate dodos from their remains.

Also, I don't think humans were as weak in nature as you portray them.

You probably do not spend enough time outdoors else you'd not be making that statement.

Re:The Terrible Tinkerer Trippin over his feet. (1)

jpardey (569633) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061996)

Haven't you ever seen any pictures of cave men? How can you say they are weak? Those were some badass doods!

Also, some things are beyond potential for misuse, and can no longer be used well. Take nuclear weapons, and asbestos (I believe there are almost-as-good replacements to it now). No one is saying, as I said before, that technology is bad, just that some thought should be used now. And is it a good thing the dodos are extinct?

Re:The Terrible Tinkerer Trippin over his feet. (3, Insightful)

metlin (258108) | more than 7 years ago | (#17062088)

Haven't you looked at mammoths? Even our cave-men ancestors looked puny in comparison.

The point I was trying to make is that science and technology are not some kind of evil that are screwing things over. They are keeping us away from the ruthless side of nature that we'd otherwise be exposed to. Goodluck trying to find a cave in the middle of a winter in the midwest with just a sheepskin. Let's see how long you last (and how comfortable you are). And goodluck finding one in the jungles of India or the grasslands of Africa, before you ruthlessly get torn apart or stomped upon.

The very coal that causes pollution is what keeps you warm, comfortable and safe.

And Dodos? Bah, so humans wiped them out. As if nature hasn't selected other species for extinction before. There is a reason evolution happened and we came out on top of the foodchain. I am not advocating the extinction of species, merely that if it has already happened because of our ignorance, then the solution is not to stop science (or our curiosity) but rather to channel it in a way that this does not happen again.

Are there social and ecological side effects to using technology? Yes. Most certainly. Nobody is denying that.

But sometimes, it takes risks for science and society to take that leap forward. Someone wanted to make sure that there were no dragons out there. Someone took a ship and explored. Sure, there was spread of disease but there was also progress.

I think that is what counts. In the long run, it is how much better we've made the life of humanity's lot.

Re:The Terrible Tinkerer Trippin over his feet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17062214)

"I think that is what counts. In the long run, it is how much better we've made the life of humanity's lot."

Only if "long run" consists of the past few seconds.* You may want to look a lot harder than you are presently to see that man's lot in life isn't as wonderful as you think*, and it has been purchased by selling our birthrights, one illusion at a time.*

*Definition: Long Run: The measure of the highs or lows between attention spans.

*Terribly uneven as well.

*Much like our security.

Re:The Terrible Tinkerer Trippin over his feet. (1)

msloan (945203) | more than 7 years ago | (#17062298)

You should read ishmael.

Re:The Terrible Tinkerer Trippin over his feet. (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 7 years ago | (#17062526)

If you're talking about the one by Daniel Quinn, I have.

Re:The Terrible Tinkerer Trippin over his feet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17062110)

"And is it a good thing the dodos are extinct?"

The people who were allergic to dodo's are pretty happy. Now all we need to do is make the mutt extinct, and replace it with designer dogs.

Re:The Terrible Tinkerer Trippin over his feet. (1)

alamandrax (692121) | more than 7 years ago | (#17062130)

i don't know about designer dogs, but get rid of those shivering little chihuahuas. those are just ugly. now a little pug-nosed bull dog. that's a keeper.

say! what was the topic again?

Re:The Terrible Tinkerer Trippin over his feet. (3, Insightful)

Shihar (153932) | more than 7 years ago | (#17062278)

Good for you. No one is saying that there should be no technology, just that there should be some thought. What is burning all this coal doing? What is going to happen if we keep hunting Dodos? Should I drive to work, or walk to the bus and lose some weight? Also, I don't think humans were as weak in nature as you portray them.

It is easy to smugly say that we shouldn't ever burn coal... all the while you burn your merry amount of coal in electrical costs and enjoy the fruits of an industrial revolution that was powered by coal. If we had never used coal we sure as shit would have never developed any 'green' technologies to begin with. I am not saying we need to go out and burn down the rain forest to make a parking lot, but that we should realize that the path towards technological progress is messy. There was never a "clean" solution around the industrial revolution other then not having it. I don't know about you, but I am damn glad that my ancestors toiled through the industrial revolution when they did instead of pausing to really think it over.

Without the messy things we have done in the past and continue to do today we wouldn't even be having this conversation on computers. Hell, in all likelihood we wouldn't even be alive. Striving towards a greener society is a noble goal to strive for, but not at the expense of cowering in terror until we answer every unanswered question. I am damn glad that my ancestors toiled through the industrial revolution, and I imagine that my grandchildren will be thankful that I toiled through my generation in a world that they will undoubtedly look back as ugly and messy. This is human progress.

Re:The Terrible Tinkerer Trippin over his feet. (1)

Shihar (153932) | more than 7 years ago | (#17062220)

Yay to global warming, ice cap melting, deforestation, and enviromental pollution. Love that headlong rush.

This coming from a person who survive child birth and is busy slamming his fingers away on a computer hooked into a power grid and connected by a world wide communications system. Dude, this "head long rush" is the only reason why you are alive. Chances are that without that merry old industrial revolution you wouldn't have even existed because your ancestors would be dead. Even if you still managed to come into existence, you would face the grim challenge of getting past the first 5 years of your life - which for the non-industrialized is a rather grim prospect. To top it all of, even if you did manage to get as far as you have, you sure as shit would not be talking about it on the Internet.

With the "headlong rush" comes the world you have. Sure, this world has problems, but they are petty and small compared to the problems they solved. More humans are alive then ever before not because the world is a harsher place to live, but because it is a place that is easier to live.

I am not advocating burning down the rain forest or seeing how much CO2 we can dump into the air, but a 'headlong rush' towards whatever the hell it is we are rushing towards is what makes us human. If that isn't satisfactory enough, then at the very least this "headlong rush" is the reason the vast majority of us are even in existence. I personally am damn merry that I was squirted out into a world with a doctor armed with modern medicine to make sure I got to the ripe old age I am today.

Re:The Terrible Tinkerer. (1)

jpardey (569633) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061682)

Like the urge to discover what that woman is like in bed? That child? Like the urge to gain political power, and wipe out segments of the population? Like the urge to shoot a man in Reno, just to watch him die?

Always follow your dreams.

Re:The Terrible Tinkerer. (1)

Puff of Logic (895805) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061722)

Have you been following me?

Re:The Terrible Tinkerer. (1)

Supergibbs (786716) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061814)

Like the urge to discover what that woman is like in bed? That child?
Ummmm.......

Re:The Terrible Tinkerer. (1)

jpardey (569633) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061854)

yeah yeah yeah. I didn't mean it that way. Thanks. I should have been more clear about it. I really didn't feel like being clear about it, I must admit.

Re:The Terrible Tinkerer. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17061894)

Nice troll.

Re:The Terrible Tinkerer. (0, Offtopic)

jpardey (569633) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061918)

um, thanks? I suppose my post is beneath you refuting it, or replying with your account name?

Re:The Terrible Tinkerer. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17061552)

Because I want to eat a blue apple.

Are you satisfied?

Let us continue.

Re:The Terrible Tinkerer. (3, Insightful)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061668)

That's a simple one. New patents on new varities means money for the patent holder(s). Karen Travis wrote a series of novels where all the plant and animal life on Earth was patented by corporations that planting unaltered seeds was illegal, and they wanted the unaltered plant and animal stock sent out to a colony 75 light years away that's being fought over by bunch of aliens who just don't give a damn about patents. I don't think that future is too far off.

Re:The Terrible Tinkerer. (1)

jpardey (569633) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061740)

I haven't read any of the books, but it sounds to me to be alluding at the situations leading up to the American Revolution. Is the author implying that patents on life are un-American? Depends on your definition of American, I guess. Still, it sounds like an interesting series.

Re:The Terrible Tinkerer. (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061924)

I think the author is alluding to the lack of freedom when every piece of plant and animal life is being held hostage by corporate patents that's driving the conflict from the human side. The protagonist is written with a strong pro-European perspective and is infected with an alien biological weapon that the corporations want very badly. I'm surprised that some Amazon reviewers have claimed that the novels are anti-human. After all, when you have aliens involved with a different moral culture, human morality may not be better or even right.

Re:The Terrible Tinkerer. (1)

jpardey (569633) | more than 7 years ago | (#17062028)

Disclaimer: I am a Canadian, not well versed in American history, and probably don't know what I am talking about, revolution wise. I am against the control of information, so to speak. I have heard a lot about how bad it can get, and believe it. What I mean is that from your description, it sounds like the author is putting in similarities to the revolution, to show the whole idea of corprate ownership of life to be against what America is supposed to stand for.

That's one less cent than I currently have in my wallet, from me.

...Just in Time for Xmas (3, Funny)

mwnyc (1016752) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061526)

"...the red color of apples [apple.com] -- a discovery that may lead to bright new apple varieties [apple.com] " Yup...looks that way.

Re:...Just in Time for Xmas (2, Funny)

jpardey (569633) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061660)

So your parents read slashdot too?

marketing? (0, Flamebait)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061530)

"Colour is a very important part of fruit marketing," she says. "If fruit doesn't look good, consumers are far less likely to buy it, no matter how good it might taste.

Dear marketing department : Shove it!

If people won't buy things that arn't perfect they don't deserve to enjoy the taste of it. Apples are the way they are because that's how they are best within our system. If you start messing with the genes who knows what side effects will happen? Just leave the damn things alone and go leech money off something else. Plant life is quite happy not being pretty to consumers.

I guess next they'll be making coconuts with soft shells because "It's so difficult to open one"

Yeah! (4, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061580)

Yeah, next thing you know they'll be making grasses with grains so heavy, they won't blow around in the wind anymore and people will need to manually harvest and re-seed the fields every year. Lazy meddling Mesopotamians.

The age and ways of the human (3, Insightful)

traindirector (1001483) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061868)

Lazy meddling Mesopotamians.

I wish I had mod points for you.

Changing the nature of our environment to suit our needs has been something humans have been doing almost since we have been recognizable as humans (or perhaps this effect on nature is what makes humans identifiable as humans). Agriculture was one of the first of these changes - it allowed us to develop new ways of living that would have been impossible without it.

But it's funny to think about how counter-intuitive these changes are to the good of the plants/animals/beings that we're changing. While changing the color of an apple is trivial, the apple's red color is something that came about because it best fit the purpose and function of the apple to be red. If we turned apples blue, this could adversely affect tree reproduction - or it might lead to the starvation of certain animals that use apples as a primary food source. We have done a number on grain. Hard-coded dependencies in nature would likely crumble. Pigs, which never would have existed, at least not in their domestic forms, would certainly be an early casualty.

Survival of the fittest has turned into survival of whatever humans like. It's certainly the current paradigm of generational mutation. And it's interesting to think about how scientists of a future species would try to explain the strange characteristics of the various lifeforms on Earth if humans were wiped off the planet without a trace except the changes in the planet's biology we've effected...

How many of our adaptations would survive without our care?

Re:marketing? (1)

firehawk2k (310855) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061770)

"Colour is a very important part of fruit marketing," she says. "If fruit doesn't look good, consumers are far less likely to buy it, no matter how good it might taste.
 
Are these the same geniuses that thought that green ketchup would be a hit?

Idiots...
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/828847.stm [bbc.co.uk]

Re:marketing? (1)

toddhisattva (127032) | more than 7 years ago | (#17062002)

Plant life is quite happy not being pretty to consumers.
All the flowering plants are laughing at you.

awesome varieties (4, Funny)

blueadept1 (844312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061568)

Next poll:

What would you like your apple to look like?
- Green and red stripes
- Green and red checkers
- Black
-Cowboyneil's ass

errrr...

Re:awesome varieties (2, Funny)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061620)

Missing Option: Rainbow Colored [wikipedia.org]

Oh Crap... (2, Funny)

ewl1217 (922107) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061582)

Now we're going to see blue apples... and I thought green ketchup was bad...

Can they figure out a way of manufacturing food (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17061590)

Can they figure out a way of manufacturing food in mass quantities with minimal raw materials. That is, you have a factory to which u supply water, esentail minerals (mined ore?) that contain iron etc, and electricty and out the other end comes out a starch like carbohydrate and nutrients.

Now you may think this is useless nobody will want to eat it even with flavoring. But it can be used to manufacture cheap food for third world countries so their people can do things other than farming and fighting over arable land (like get an education, build roads, industries, work on cures for diseases, go on vacations). Only problem is we may ultimately see a major decline in global population because people who aren't poor tend to opt not to have enough kids to cause population growth.

I think food produced this way will cost dramatically less than farms food (think 10 cents for a full day's 2000 calorie meal).

Re:Can they figure out a way of manufacturing food (1)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061796)

If population growth slowed a bit I think it would be better for the world.... however I could be completely wrong about that.

nitrogen fixation (1)

ebers (816511) | more than 7 years ago | (#17062066)

Well, indirectly, they already are manufacturing food. More than half of the world's fixed nitrogen is produced (converted from N2 to a biologically available form, like ammonia or nitrate) in a factory as part of fertilizer production, replacing what used to be done by microbes in the soil. Plants use this nitrogen to grow, and we eat them to grow, and thus a large fraction of the nitrogen in the protein in your body has passed through a factory.
(Exception granted if you are Amish, and still farming the old way. If you are Amish, should you really be reading slashdot?)

Re:Can they figure out a way of manufacturing food (1)

jpardey (569633) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061832)

I am biased here, but I doubt such a change in nutrition would be beneficial. First, what nutrients? It seems every day, a new acid is found to be necessary, or the balance of proper fats is redefined. Until nutrition science is way more advanced, I think evolution will be much better provider of food. Where do you get your price? Why do you think this method will be so cheap? Power would need to be supplied and maintained. What the poor countries need is a reduction in the monoculture farming practices, I say. And is a decrease in population a problem?

Technology can be of use sometimes, but it seems to me that the way things are organized now is just ridiculous, and could easily be changed for the better without carbohydrate factories.
P.S. I am a bit of a socialist, if you didn't notice.

Re:Can they figure out a way of manufacturing food (3, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17062182)

Can they figure out a way of manufacturing food in mass quantities with minimal raw materials. That is, you have a factory to which u supply water, esentail minerals (mined ore?) that contain iron etc, and electricty and out the other end comes out a starch like carbohydrate and nutrients.

It's called a potato field.

KFG

Re:Can they figure out a way of manufacturing food (1)

jpardey (569633) | more than 7 years ago | (#17062276)

Those things... work?

Yeah sure... (1)

haraldm (643017) | more than 7 years ago | (#17062438)

... and it would make third world farmers even more dependent on major western food corporations or their patents. The next Monsanto is due! This move would allow western corporations to keep a foothold in the third world food production by patents, instead of allowing these countries to produce their own food in peace. It would effectively kill local farming. Stopping all these proxy wars is part of the solution, in order to stop colonialism, not creating more dependecies.

Hey man that sounds like soylent green for the poor. Millions of poor people standing in a queue for free artificial food. What should they pay the artificial food from when they're unemployed? These countries have little industry. Farming is the one major employment chance there.

How hypocritical can one be?

Black Apple! (2, Funny)

nighty5 (615965) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061608)

OK fuckers, I'm prepared to pay extra cash for a Black Apple.

CSIRO - do you ugliest.

Re:Black Apple! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17062030)

yeah, with Revlon revving up shades of black in their range of cosmetics, i am willing to bet that there will be takers for all kinds of shades, particularly black!

Re:Black Apple! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17062170)

how will you tell if theyre rotten? =/

Re: how will you tell if they're rotten? =/ (1)

edschurr (999028) | more than 7 years ago | (#17062494)

By performing a taste test!

Re:Black Apple! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17062554)

look, it's a nigger!

ok.. ok.. that was uncalled for, right? well, 50 years ago... :P

What does it mean? (1)

ashwinds (743227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061614)

Does that mean my macbook will not become red hot any more?

I take it that they didn't use any (1, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061628)

Granny Smith apples in this study?

But seriously, does this mean that we'll soon see makeup products that will make women's lips permanently red? Or perhaps some other useful product that all of North America is just dying to have?

The best apples I have ever tasted (4, Interesting)

jpardey (569633) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061632)

My family is heavily into organic food, and now that I am out of the house, I still try to eat stuff grown reasonably well, for taste and health reasons. But anyway, back at my old house, there were a number of apple trees in the yard when we moved in. One tree always has apples that look like they are covered in dust. The other trees don't. Blemishes and bumps are common, along with the occasional worm. Nothing in the supermarket, "organic" or otherwise, compares. Firm, not full of water, not ridiculously crispy, and have more of the taste of an apple than any other apple I have tried.

The way an apple looks matters little to me. Sure, the inability to wipe the dirty appearance off the apples put me off at first, but I now know that a bright red apple will taste more like water than anything else. And now thanks to the discovery of this gene, mega-orchards can grow good looking crops with far less effort, fertilizer, or taste, I would expect.

Things like this make me consider dropping out of the sciences. Every advancement seems to merely be another opportunity to cut back something else, and get away with less bottom-line. Still, maybe with the extra anti-oxidant thing, it could be worth it.

It's the genetics not the color or the chemicals (3, Informative)

scattol (577179) | more than 7 years ago | (#17062020)

Apples taste is chiefly controled by their genetics. Essentially, watery and tart apples tend to be early summer apples and crips and sweet ones are late fall varieties. There is, essentially an direct correlation/tradeoff with maturing time and taste. Everything else that the farmer does only affect this a tiny bit. Otherwise they could turn their Melbas into Cortland just by spraying them which simply doesn't happen.

The weather that year also plays an important role, mainly rainfall and the amount of sun and heat. That's easily demonstrated as the main factor by the simple fact that all the farmers in a region get the same kind of results for a given year (small red apples, big lightly colored ones, fragile things that fall on the ground).

In fact chemicals are very expensive to an apple grower so you can bet that they try to use them as little as they can.

That's not to say that they don't spray, they do spray a lot but it's in their best interest to spray as little as possible and many are trying to limit their use of chemicals.

If there is anything wrong, it's the association in consumer's mind of the red color and ripeness. You can have perfectly sweet and ripe fruits but that aren't all that red. This has lead to variety (like the delicious) that is very red but has no taste. To each his own.

Re:It's the genetics not the color or the chemical (2, Funny)

jpardey (569633) | more than 7 years ago | (#17062048)

Chemicals may be expensive in some cases, but I believe in general chemical fertilizer is cheaper than transporting compost, when crops are grown in large batches. I think "you are what you eat" applies to apples as well as anything, and a bag of chemicals... is not going to taste as good as a bag of composted leaves, windfall, and faecal matter. OK, never mind that analogy.

Re:It's the genetics not the color or the chemical (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 7 years ago | (#17062248)

I remember when the best-tasting apple you could get was a Delicious from Yakima, Washington. Precisely the right balance of sweet, tart, firmness, juice, etc. The best ones were a very dark red, almost a purplish-black shade, rather than bright red, and they tended to be irregularly shaped.

I read an article a while back, about how breeding for marketable appearance and storage tolerance has, by ill chance, bred out the true apple taste and texture, and that the genes for the tasty old-style apple have been lost in the main commercial gene pool.

That's a sad loss. I'd rather have an ugly apple that tastes wonderful, than a pretty apple that's dull eating.

Re:It's the genetics not the color or the chemical (1)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 7 years ago | (#17062428)

I'm a big fan of smaller, green apples. They're not near as bland as the red ones -- both being commercial varieties -- but I still say the best ones I've ever had came from an old farmer my great aunt lived near.

He made cider, too.

Real cider. Not pasteurized. If you've never had unpasteurized cider, you're missing out -- the cooking changes the flavor, and it's not for the better. The things we do to avoid bacteria!

So while the tasty genes may not exist in the commercial gene pool, they're still out there. Heck, all sorts of old genes are laying around -- there's a whole field of traditional varieties of fruits and vegetables and flowers. People collect 'em. Out back I've got a rose bush that's well over 100 years old -- you'll not find anything in the store like it, but it's the HARDIEST rose bush I've ever seen. Survived several replantings, a chewing-to-the-ground by a dog who thought it was yummy.. insane.
But it does like blood. Very thorny, and I swear it throws itself out towards flesh...

Re:The best apples I have ever tasted (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17062140)

I used to live in Brazil and apples there (and other fruits in general) do not look as nearly as good as US ones. Fruits have blemishes, irregular format and shape, etc.

Then I went to the US and bought some of those impossibly red, glossy and simetrically-shaped apples.

They tasted like biting on a piece of styrofoam.

And this goes with most of other produce in US supermarkets.

Is the average US consumer so shallow that his behaviour actually prevents the one economical superpower of the world from getting actually tasty stuff?

Re:The best apples I have ever tasted (2, Insightful)

jpardey (569633) | more than 7 years ago | (#17062206)

I went to Mexico, and had a similar experience with bananas. The contrast is pretty incredible to the stringy, styrofoamy things we have here. I have a feeling that only greater profit margins will come of it, and perhaps more kids who hate fruits and vegetables. With any luck, America will collapse under the weight of its own fat, and leave the rest of the world alone in a few years.

Let he who has had his/her daily share of fruits and vegetables cast the first -1 troll.

Re:The best apples I have ever tasted (1)

Cyrano de Maniac (60961) | more than 7 years ago | (#17062306)

It's hard not to agree wholeheartedly, as I've disliked America's most popular variety, the Red Delicious, for about a decade. Apparently I'm not the only one [washingtonpost.com] .

However, I think it is a mistake to dismiss all commercially grown apples due to a problem with a particular variety. A few years ago I had the pleasure of trying the Fireside and Connell Red [minnesotaharvest.net] (the latter apparently a mutation of the former), which I picked from a local commercial orchard. I always knew there were many varieties of apples in the world, but tasting these two opened my eyes to the rich variety to be experienced.

Re:The best apples I have ever tasted (1)

jpardey (569633) | more than 7 years ago | (#17062476)

Ah yes, but a local commercial orchard? Assuming you live in a semi-urban area, it will probably be on a small scale, and assuming you can buy directly from them, they probably aren't shipping world wide, and growing for shipability. Or did you get one from someone on the inside? How big of an orchard is it?

Bright new apple varieties? (3, Informative)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061634)

bright new apple varieties.

Maybe not. There was just a nobel prize awarded in this area of research. IIRC, the gene expression is regulated by a twisted helix RNA type which prevents overexpression of given genes, and there's some feedback mechanism which causes the chromosomal DNA to stop expressing the mRNA after a while.

The original studies which started this were botanists trying to make more pink petunias - when they inserted more "pink" genes, the petunias came out white. The prize research was about regulation in c.elegans.

Botanists and molecular biologists will now shred my analysis. :)

Re:Bright new apple varieties? (1)

jon_joy_1999 (946738) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061950)

The original studies which started this were botanists trying to make more pink petunias - when they inserted more "pink" genes, the petunias came out white.
plant cells have a basic defense mechanism to guard against viral infection. each gene sequence is like a page, when a cell is running normally, there is one page for each gene sequence. when a virus infects the cell, sometimes it will generate multi-page gene sequences, repeating a single page multiple times. the cell's defense mechanism detects these multi-page gene sequences and neutralizes them. when the botanists multiplied the pink gene sequences the defense mechanism took it to be a virus infection and neutralized the gene sequences, thus no pink color.
the key is not to have more pink genes, but to alter what is already there to make it more, or less pink, or some other color altogether

Bright new apple varieties?-World Domination. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17062252)

"Botanists and molecular biologists will now shred my analysis. :)"

Why? Do you think it will fall into enemy hands?

Re:Bright new apple varieties? (2, Funny)

Reziac (43301) | more than 7 years ago | (#17062314)

I read somewhere that the wide array of new colours in petunias (which when I was a kid, only came in white, red, pink, and red/white striped) derive from the addition of genes from corn.

A few years ago I planted a couple random flats of these new-colour'd petunias, and let them crossbreed and reseed however they pleased. The next generation's blooms were strange, to say the least. Some had irregular white blotches; others were delicately shaded, like watercolours that had gotten wet. Many had a crepe or wrinkled texture. Some displayed unlikely shades of blue and purple that I'd never seen before. A few had a "beard" (extra petals, but not a double flower). And most were moderately hardy perennials, surviving winter temps down to the mid teens. (Tho a perennial in the tropics, petunias normally die off at the first frost.) And they all bloomed like there was no tomorrow, and the 3rd generation came up like weeds.

I had the weirdest looking flower garden you ever saw. :)

Re:Bright new apple varieties? (2, Informative)

jcmurray (975686) | more than 7 years ago | (#17062350)

I'm not an "ordained" molecular biologist, but I'll add to your comments. Bright new apple varieties can be introduced into apples via genetic manipulation at the chromosomal (genomic) DNA level. In organisms, from plants to animals, you can inject (or "transfect") a specific gene into a cell relatively easily. This type of injection can be permanent or temporary. A permanent injection could yield a new apple variety. This is direct genetic manipulation.

There is another way. The tried-and-true method for introducing new apple varieties would involve mating (or "crossing") current apple varieties which represent traits of interest. For example, find the two shinest, reddiest apples and cross them to see if you can generate an even shiner, redder apple. This is indirect genetic manipulation, which relies upon specific selection.

Finally, yes, there was a Nobel Prize awarded for the discovery of a mechanism for gene silencing called RNA interference, or RNAi. Scientists tried injecting double stranded RNA (dsRNA) encoding "pink" genes into petunias. This RNA interfered with the normal expression of the pink genes, which yielded white plants. This mechanism, RNAi, is now used to limit (or "knockdown") the expression of specific genes in labs around the world. It is a powerful and useful technique. To clarify, the chromosomal DNA doesn't actually stop expressing the gene--it still makes messanger RNA ("mRNA") for the gene, but does not translate the mRNA into protein. These mRNAs are effectively blocked or degraded before translation via RNAi, as long as the RNAi components are present in the cell. To permanently block the expression of a gene via RNAi, one must use the method of transfection (described above) to insert the RNAi "gene" into chromosomal DNA.

Hope this helps. (I tend to be a bit long-winded.)

Countdown Until Somebody Patents This: (2, Funny)

ewl1217 (922107) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061652)

5...

4...

3...

2...

1...

Re:Countdown Until Somebody Patents This: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17062056)

Patents what, exactly? Patents the apple tree's genome? Patents gene identification/manipulation techniques?

I don't know how much intellectual property there is left to be jumped on.

UV Reactive (1)

Diadems (956490) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061692)

Apples that are UV reactive would be awesome for my next case mod!

And I believe it's called... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Freak (16973) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061714)

"Bono".

Roses are red... (5, Funny)

hall_simon (596926) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061774)

Roses are red, Apples are too, I know you colour gene, Now you are blue!

Well... (1)

wyldeone (785673) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061848)

Well, I guess that explains this [apple.com] .

Just as tasteless? (1)

penrodyn (927177) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061902)

Will the new colorful apples be just as tasteless? I would be nice if they focused on growing apples that actually tasted of something other than wet and crunchy cardboard.

Well, Whoopie Shit!! (0, Troll)

jpetts (208163) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061908)

Me, I'm just glad I don't pay for this bloody nonsense...

Apple Knowledge (4, Insightful)

ari_j (90255) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061970)

I participated in an apple tasting festival a year or so ago, and I only really learned one thing. The uglier the variety of apple, the better it tastes. A perfectly-colored, gargantuan Red Delicious from the store has nearly no flavor whatsoever. By contrast, if you find one that looks like a potato, you are in for a treat.

Re:Apple Knowledge (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 7 years ago | (#17062262)

That's true of grapefruit too. The best tasting are the thin-skinned, flattened-shaped, blotchy-coloured ones.

Re:Apple Knowledge (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 7 years ago | (#17062638)

Red Delicious apples are disgusting. It's everyone's fault- the public buys them based on color, not sweetness, so the breeders and nurseries propagate the most mutant reddish varieties. They introduce a huge selective pressure for color and isolate the apple from any selective pressure for taste. You can't taste the apples at the store before you decide to buy them, and the breeders know it, so they act in their own short-term interests and breed beautiful red apples with no regard for taste. Over the long term people eventually learn to associate the red color with an apple that tastes like crap. At least it tastes bitter because it's full of antioxidants and good for you, but it's also bland.

Grouch, grouch, grouch (1)

beadfulthings (975812) | more than 7 years ago | (#17061982)

I'm going to rain on their parade. I don't care what the apple looks like. I'd just like to be able to go into the supermarket and buy an apple that's crispy and doesn't present me with a mouth full of watery mush when I bite into it. All their engineering efforts at getting "perfect" apples to market have done is to take away the essential crispness of the fruit. I don't even want to think about what they do to preserve the average grocery-store apple.

Thankfully we still have farmer's markets and local pick-your-own orchards. A blemish or two doesn't count for anything against the crisp, sweet taste of a real, unpreserved apple. Too bad we may have a generation that thinks an "apple" is an improbably red, waxed object with the taste and texture of oversweetened oatmeal.

Fuji and Baeburn! (1)

fub (126448) | more than 7 years ago | (#17062484)

I eat an apple every workday, as part of my lunch. Two varieties that are really delicious, crispy and juicy: Fuji and Braeburn. They really have a nice bite to 'em.

I'm waiting for dalmation and flower power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17062012)

You know, Apple? It's not good enough to be bondi blue -- we want dalmation!

Grapple (1)

superchi (751308) | more than 7 years ago | (#17062070)

The Grapple Fruits [grapplefruits.com] company has something to cheer about when they get purple apples. Now if only they could genetically engineer their flavor instead of just ingeniously soaking their apples in artificial grape flavoring.

Red Apple(TM) ipods (1)

Devil's BSD (562630) | more than 7 years ago | (#17062090)

It seems like Apple computer has already used this information to enhance their products... enter the red Apple iPod Nano!

http://www.apple.com/ipodnano/red/ [apple.com]

Granny Smith (1)

8ball629 (963244) | more than 7 years ago | (#17062152)

I can't wait to have a red granny smith apple.

This proves it! (3, Funny)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#17062216)

Slashdot has a definate pro-apple bias!

Temptation (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17062226)

Now I can finally get a Ferrari in true "candy apple red".

Not CSIRO Leader (1)

Xiroth (917768) | more than 7 years ago | (#17062324)

Ah, I seriously doubt that it was the leader of the CSIRO who announced this - if he announced every discovery he wouldn't have any time to do anything else, given that the CSIRO is a massive government-funded dedicated research agency with over 6500 staff. In fact, from the article:
"The red colour in apple skin is the result of anthocyanins, the natural plant compounds responsible for blue and red colours in many flowers and fruits," says the leader of the CSIRO Plant Industry research team, Dr Mandy Walker.

Not a big issue, just a little clarification (it just struck me as odd in the summary).

Genetically Altered Food (1)

H3g3m0n (642800) | more than 7 years ago | (#17062358)

Might be worth requiring by law that all genetically altered food is of a obviously diffrent colour as a kind of warning, I would love blue apples, then again I had that green tomato sauce, that made me feel sick. Maybe the next Firefox crop circle could be in colour.

Wouldn't surprise me if Micro$oft.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17062418)

tried to claim IP on it.
http://www.patentgenius.com/patent/PP14757.html [patentgenius.com]

(is this the first m$ bash on the page?)

Ha! (1)

malkir (1031750) | more than 7 years ago | (#17062548)

Now in the news: Apple sues apples for copyright infringement, claims that iApple - a project to make customized colored apples for all trendy fruit-lovers, has been hijacked!

Misspelled (1)

odie_q (130040) | more than 7 years ago | (#17062600)

Shoudln't that read Apple iGene?

Huh? (1)

Jackyshadow (1001714) | more than 7 years ago | (#17062636)

The colour of Apple is white, usually with glossy and shiny finish. So have some common sense, people.
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