Genetically Modified Apples

“Are most apples sold today genetically modified?” Question from Anne of Portland, Oregon

Answer: No. The only commercially available genetically modified apples on the market are non-browning apples sold under the name Arctic® apples. These were just made available to consumers in November, 2017. So, how do these apples resist browning? The researchers involved didn’t add a foreign gene to the apples. Instead, they learned how to turn off the apple gene that creates the enzyme catalyst that causes apple cells to turn brown when exposed to air.

To date, all other apples on the market are not genetically modified. In fact, renewed interest in antique and heirloom apples has made many old varieties newly available to consumers. And many hot supermarket varieties, like ‘Honeycrisp’ (1960 discovery) and ‘Granny Smith’ (1868 discovery), are happenstance discoveries that have been around for quite a while.

If you want the best-of-the-best fresh, classic apples in your area, seek out local apple orchards or market vendors that sell nearby fruit. There’s nothing better than fresh, local apples in fall!


Jessie Keith


Plants are the lens Jessie views the world through because they’re all-sustaining. (“They feed, clothe, house and heal us. They produce the air we breathe and even make us smell pretty.”) She’s a garden writer and photographer with degrees in both horticulture and plant biology from Purdue and Michigan State Universities. Her degrees were bolstered by internships at Longwood Gardens and the American Horticultural Society. She has since worked for many horticultural institutions and companies and now manages communications for Sun Gro Horticulture, the parent company of Black Gold. Her joy is sharing all things green and lovely with her two daughters.

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