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Fruit & Flies Roundup

April 1, 2011

A delicious, but neglected fruit could get its day in the sun again with a bit of genetic engineering.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (HOST):

Could fruits have a new top banana? I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Mark Twain called the cherimoya, or custard apple, “the most delicious fruit known to men.” It’s described as tasting like a combination of pineapple and banana. But it’s filled with seeds the size of coffee beans.  In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, University of California, Davis researchers report that they’ve found a gene that could lead to a seedless cherimoya. The team built on earlier work done on the wild mustard plant.

In other genetics news, an international team of researchers has just published a tree of life for flies. Flies go back 260 million years, predating even the dinosaurs. Some flies are important in genetics research, others are pollinators, while still others spread disease.  The new family tree will help research in all of these fields. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.