Photo Reeding, Flickr (Click for photo stream)
Scientific Name: Carica papaya
Genetically Engineered Trait: Resistance to the papaya ringspot virus
Details of Genetic Engineering:
In the 1990s papaya ringspot virus was in the process of wiping out the Hawaiian papaya industry, then the second largest fruit industry in Hawaii. Conventional approaches such as selective breeding for resistant papayas or attempting to grow trees in isolation had failed. The virus is transmitted by small sap-sucking insects such as aphids. Infected papaya trees can be recognized by the discolored rings on their fruit (that the virus gets its name from) yellow leaves, and most importantly from a papaya farmer’s perpsective a 60-100%* loss of fruit production. (more…)
It’s only in the past few years that I’ve begun seeing pomelos for sale in grocery stores. I remember eating the first one I’d ever seen in Matthew’s dorm room, which puts it just over 3 years ago. The Pomelo is one of the parental species, along with the orange, of the modern grapefruit, and if you’ve never had one, the best way to imagine the flavor is to imagine the distinctive flavor of grapefruit, only stronger and less sweet. Besides flavor, the other thing to take into account when dealing with pomelos is that while the overall size of a pomelo fruit is quite impressive, the ratio of edible to inedible biomass is lower than in other commercially available citrus fruits.