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Not GMO: Do You know What this Hybrid Is?

Ever since the first genetically modified foods hit the grocery stores in the 90s, consumers have been concerned about eating GMOs. In Canada and the USA, people are still fighting for mandatory labelling of these foods. Nobody wants to be eating “Frankenfood” without realizing it, after all.

But there are many foods that are naturally occurring crosses between two plants. And still many others, like today’s mystery fruit, that are man-made hybrids developed through conventional breeding (not genetic manipulation.)

Can you guess what fruit is the result of a man-made cross between a pomelo (seen in the Tweet) and a mandarin orange? Tell me your answer in the comments, and I’ll come back later to reveal the truth. No fair cheating to find the answer! But you may visit the link from the Tweet and see if you can find the answer in the article (it’s hiding in plain sight, so it may take some work to find it!)

If you don’t know the answer, take an educated guess. Or, if you like, try to come up with a creative or humorous answer. Let’s see how well you know your fruit.

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    • If you are suggesting that any human intervention (i.e. breeding) creates a GMO, you are not the first to interpret “genetic modification” or “biotechnology” this broadly. However, this is not the commonly accepted understanding of this technology. GMO is typically a direct and specific manipulation at the level of the genes. It is most often applied to transgenic organisms, usually plants that have genes from a completely unrelated species added to them. However, there are cisgenic GMOs such as apples whose genes have been “switched off” to prevent them from browning when cut.

      The major differences are two: 1) hybrids do not need human intervention. but can occur naturally in the wild, and 2) with a hybrid, all the DNA of two plants or animals are brought together & then humans select or discard from the resulting offspring according to the desired traits, whereas genetic modification is usually a single manipulation involving specifically chosen genes. It doesn’t happen in the wild, nor is it the result of traditional plant breeding techniques. The first genetically modified organisms were introduced in the 20th century, whereas people and nature have been creating hybrids for centuries.

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