Why Do Scientists Create New Apples?

The Cosmic Crisp apple hit produce aisles across America on December 1, 2019. The variety came out of Washington State University’s breeding program, which has been developing the apple for the past 20 years. There are thousands of different kinds of apples on the market, and 2,500 of those are grown in the United States, like the Granny Smith, Fuji, Honeycrisp, and America’s favorite, the Gala, which just beat out the Red Delicious variety for the first time ever in production, according to the U.S. Apple Association. And yet, scientists are still developing new varieties. But it’s not just breeding programs making hybrids of the fruits and vegetables nearly everyone is familiar with.There’s also scientists across the globe working on creating new varieties, whether it be apples or berries, mushrooms, or even crops like rice and wheat. This innovation isn’t just the controversial GMO kind. In fact, crops have been cross bred to produce new varieties for hundreds of years. Here’s how how horticulturists and scientists create new varieties of fruits and vegetables, and why there’s space in the produce aisle for innovation.