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Blue Strawberries Raise More GMO Questions

Blue Strawberries Raise More GMO Questions

By Dani Stone for

The GMO folks are at it again and this time they haven’t engineered a giant raisin or crossed a tangerine with a grapefruit (tangelo), they’ve created a blue strawberry. It wasn’t engineered for shock value, although it does look like something Willy Wonka would have at his factory. It was actually created to withstand freezing temperatures and you’ll never believe what they used to make it blue.

For those of you unfamiliar with the lingo, GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. GMO is achieved by adding and deleting genes of different species of plants to engineer a new one.

Genetically modified food has been available for years in select grocery stores including over-sized strawberries and packages of pluots (plums and apricots) to name a few. Okay, let’s get back to that blue strawberry.

How did scientists make it blue and why, aside from the cool factor? When scientists discovered the Arctic Flounder Fish produces antifreeze to protect itself in frigid water, they wondered what would happen if they introduced the gene that produces the antifreeze in to a strawberry plant.  They didn’t set out to make it blue, it just happened that way. Something else happened, too. They discovered the blue strawberry plant can withstand freezing temperatures. An important discovery meaning it won’t turn to mush when placed in the freezer. This means the strawberries could be stored longer, increasing their shelf life.

There are conflicting opinions about the nutritional value of GMOs. At, Cynthia Bu Jawdeh said, “Well there are several negative effects that are still being studied…,” in response to questions about the safety of the blue strawberries. “Some of the basics are the arousal of new allergies (in response to the new proteins being formed), new toxins produced by plants that can have a negative effect on humans or the environment, [antibiotic] resistance, etc.”

While many consumers are justifiably wary of genetically modified food citing a lack of FDA regulation and possibly hard-to-detect allergens, is it possible there are more “greater good” qualities to using GMO techniques than just freakishly large colorful fruit and vegetables? That’s possible, but only if you can answer why we need strawberries that withstand freezing temperatures. Strawberries are a summer fruit, coming in to season in June, when the sun is bright and the temperatures warm. Nature has already dictated when we should eat these fruits, but do you love them enough to stock up for winter?

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Read more: Food, Green, Nature, ,

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11:46AM PDT on Oct 15, 2014

This makes me hungry for some fruits for some reason. O_O Am i the only one

8:31PM PST on Mar 8, 2013

Hate Gmo products!

11:36AM PDT on Oct 4, 2012

There are no genetically modified strawberries commercially grown and shipped. The scientific paper cited here is from 1998. Some scientists attempted this gene insertion, but it was not viable for regular production. New varieties of strawberries are developed through good old fashioned cross pollination. Different varieties of strawberries are developed for different climates and growing conditions. These varieties are developed using conventional breeding methods that involving selecting two parents and crossing them using their flower.

6:17PM PDT on Sep 24, 2012

Its not a hoax, here is the scientific article:

10:48PM PDT on Jun 16, 2012

oops. sorry for multiple posting.

10:47PM PDT on Jun 16, 2012

this appears to be a hoax according to

10:47PM PDT on Jun 16, 2012

this appears to be a hoax according to

10:47PM PDT on Jun 16, 2012

this appears to be a hoax according to

10:47PM PDT on Jun 16, 2012

this appears to be a hoax according to

8:01AM PDT on May 7, 2012

Why not eat it? Ever see a NON-GMO strawberry, also known as a wild strawberry? They're dinky emaciated little seed balls and the few I have tasted were sour. Those big plump red strawberries everyone is familiar with are genetically modified -- cross breeding and selection of plants that yield large berries is no different than tweaking the genes -- only the methodology is different. Field or lab, you choose. If you want a strawberry that in NOT modified by human hands, better find some wild strawberries.

Good grief, how can so many people be so ignorant? What next, no GMO pets? There go the dogs and cats (unless you own a wolf or a lynx). Yawl have nothing better to worry about?

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