The first genetically engineered apple variety will reach store shelves next month after years of development and protest. A limited “test run” release of the non-browning Arctic Apple branded fruit is expected to find its way to select Midwest grocery stores in February. The apple variety has been genetically modified to eliminate the browning that occurs when an apple is left out in the open air.

Genetic engineering advocates tell the Washington Post the apple could be a turning point in the debate over genetically modified organisms. While genetic modifications have in the past been mainly defended as a way to protect crops, the Arctic Apple would be one of the first GMOs marketed directly to consumers. The founder of the company marketing the Arctic Apple says: “We see this as less about genetic modification and more about convenience.”

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