Tag Archives: antifreeze gene

GM Blue Strawberry: the Facts

The blue strawberry has been described as a ‘Willy Wonka-esque creation‘, and created a storm of controversy for Internet bloggers and social news websites.

I originally wrote about this transgenic strawberry back in March as a response to a TIL post on Reddit. I cautioned readers because the original blog article posted by Cynthia Bu Jawdeh had a lack of credible references. In the last month, traction for the ‘GM blue strawberry’ story has only continued to rise.

Dr Kevin Folta

Kevin Folta, a University of Florida associate professor of horticultural sciences, displays the woodland strawberry in his laboratory at UF’s main campus on Dec. 20, 2010.

 

Dr. Kevin M. Folta is an Associate Professor at University of Florida, Gainesville, FL holding a BS and an MS from Northern Illinois University; a PhD from University of Illinois Chicago and a Postdoc at University of Wisconsin. He worked collaboratively with a team of 75 researchers to publish the DNA sequence of the strawberry.

I corresponded with Kevin via e-mail last week, to verify a follow up  interview posted on strawberryblu.com

 

 

Fishstrawberry

Photo: must be true because I found it on the Internet.

GMO Strawberry Facts:

  • The only commercial transgenic (GMO) fruit is the papaya.
  • There are other approved GM crops such as potatos, and tomatos– but none are currently grown in production.
  • GMO strawberries do exist. They are created in the lab for research purposes ONLY.
  • The stawberry used for research purposes is Fragaria vesca, aka ‘the woodland strawberry’– not the commercially available Fragaria x ananassa.

 

Blue Strawberry: It’s an Internet Sensation!

Big news today, as the world reacts to the genetically modifed blue strawberry! In fact, reddit’s hottest post for most of the morning is full of fact(less) comments and fishy information (hahah– I punned!).

In summary: scientists have genetically modified the strawberry plant. They introduced the antifreezing gene from arctic flounder so the plants and fruit can tolerate feezing / rethawing without wilting and then turning to mush. A side effect– the fruit are blue.

ZOMG! Fishy tasting fruit!” – typical redditor

If you google ‘genetically modified blue strawberry’, you will find a plethora of articles like these:

http://www.personal.psu.edu/afr3/blogs/SIOW/2010/10/killer-strawberries—a-tale-of-gm-foods.html

http://strawberryblu.com/2011/08/21/so-whats-with-the-blue-strawberry/

http://www.f-paper.com/?i903020-Global-has-24-kinds-of-genetically-modified-commercial

And that’s part of the problem. With  no credible source of information it’s no wonder everyone is overreacting to something that really isn’t that surprising at all: we’ve been directly manipulating the genetics in our food products for about 300 years. In particular, we’ve been mucking about with arctic flounder genes since the 90’s.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!