Mutation breeding creates the world's most perfect orange

The KinnowLS mandarin orange, pictured at right, is incredibly sweet, has almost no seeds, a skin so thin it's easily peeled, and can grow in the desert. And it's a mutant created almost the same way Hulk was.

Today the Plant Biology department at the University of California at Riverside announced the successful creation of KinnowLS, a genetic mutation based on the seedy Kinnow orange commonly grown in India and Pakistan. The Kinnow, pictured above at left, is also a genetic mutation, developed nearly a century ago at UC Riverside. KinnowLS oranges are the result of "mutation breeding," a genetic engineering technique that sounds like something right out of a comic book. Researchers bombard young plants with X-rays, gamma rays, or mutagenic chemicals. As a result, they often get plants that are superpowered, just like the KinnowLS, which is exceptionally hardy, tasty, and nearly seedless (the LS stands for "low-seeded").

You won't be able to buy KinnowLS oranges for about five years in the supermarket because they're still in the beta breeding stage. A few farms in the hot fields of central California have been licensed to breed the trees that will eventually produce KinnowLS in roughly three years. Once these trees are producing oranges, the university will start licensing its new fruit abroad.

Mutation breeding creates the world's most perfect orange

Geneticist Mikeal Roose, chair of Riverside's Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, developed KinnowLS with staff scientist Timothy Williams. Roose said:

People who like very sweet fruit are going to find 'KinnowLS' to be very appealing. When other citrus varieties mature to reach the level of sweetness of 'KinnowLS,' their other qualities – such as rind texture – are in decline. Neither 'Kinnow' nor 'KinnowLS' suffer in this way.

Here's the upshot, orange lovers. We live in a world where you can license a mutant fruit. Get ready for next-generation tastiness.

via UC Riverside