Lori Verhelst and her granddaughter Kalia Vandergaag show off the perfectly half red, half yellow apple Lori found in a bag of Pink Ladies purchased at a supermarket in Smithers. (Thom Barker photo)

Northern B.C. woman finds apple with split personality

The Pink Lady apple is perfectly half red, half yellow as if painted

When Telkwa’s Lori Verhelst brought home a bag of Pink Lady apples from the No Frills in Smithers last week, she was in for a big surprise.

When she pulled one of the apples out of the bag, she found it was precisely half red and half yellow, as if someone had painted it or two different apples had been cut in half and stuck together.

“Of course, I was very surprised,” Verhelst said. “I went to my husband and I said, ‘take a look at this,’ and he said, ‘holy, we better contact the paper.

“We put it on Facebook and some people didn’t believe it was real.”

There have been other reports of similar phenomena. Newspapers in the U.K. have reported on at least three different cases of the same thing with different varieties of apples. They cite experts as saying it is more than a million to one chance that something like this would happen and that it is likely a random genetic mutation.

RELATED: Freaky Fruit Friday

Dr. Loren Reiseberg, a professor in the agriculture department at University of British Columbia, however, said it could be as simple as one side of the apple being exposed to direct sunlight and the other not, but admitted he could be wrong.

Dr. Andrew Riseman, another UBC expert was much more certain. He called the apple a ‘periclinal chimera,’ which means a body that contains two different genotypes.

“At some point in the fruit’s development, a cell mutated to block red pigment production and it’s daughter cells inherited the mutation leading to the pattern,” he told The Interior News via email.

Chimera is derived from the Greek word khimaira, a mythical fire-breathing monster with the head of a lion, the body of a goat and the tail of a serpent.

In medical science, a chimera is an organism with genetic material from two or more sources. Researchers in various parts of the world are experimenting with human-animal chimeras as a means of growing human organs for transplants.

Verhelst put the apple in the refrigerator to preserve it until she could show people how interesting it is. She said she was tempted to try to preserve it somehow, but as of Friday afternoon was planning to go ahead and eat it.

The Pink Lady apple (also known as Cripps Pink) was originally cultivated by Australian researcher John Cripps by crossing a Golden Delicious with a Lady Williams in 1973. They first came to Canada in the 1990s. It was the first apple variety to have a registered trademark name.



editor@interior-news.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Lori Verhelst of Telkwa got a big surprise when she brought home a bag of Pink Lady apples on Wednesday, a perfectly half red, half yellow fruit. (Contributed photo)

Just Posted

Pig destined for sanctuary goes missing from Cobble Hill farm

Berleen was less than two weeks from travelling to Manitoba when she vanished

Editorial: Mask wearing: innocuous advice has turned into polarizing war

Somehow, this innocuous recommendation has become a polarizing war for some.

UPDATED: Young deckhands backed out of fatal Arctic Fox II trip just before fishboat departed

Inexperienced twin brothers had ‘gut feeling’ and bailed before going to open ocean

Cowichan’s Dillabaugh checks in from the NHL bubble in Toronto

Flyers’ Duncan-born goalie coach weighs in on hockey restart

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Watchdog clears Okanagan RCMP in death of man after arrest over alleged stolen pizzas

The man died in hospital after having difficulty breathing and broken ribs

Have you seen Berleen? B.C. pig destined for sanctuary goes missing

Berleen was less than two weeks from travelling to Manitoba when she vanished

Health Canada says several kids hospitalized after eating edible pot products

People warned not to store cannabis products where children can find them

‘It’s not just about me’: McKenna cites need to protect politicians from threats

Police investigation was launched after someone yelled obscenities at a member of McKenna’s staff

Michigan plans dedicated road lanes for autonomous vehicles

First study of its kind in the U.S. to figure out whether existing lanes or shoulders could be used

Filmmaker James Cameron’s Comox Valley winery up for sale

The director behind The Terminator and Titanic puts Beaufort Winery on the market after six years

Large missing python found ssssafe in Victoria after being on the lam for weeks

The snake was located more than six kilometres from where it went missing

B.C. announces multi-year plan to double treatment beds for youth with addiction

This will bring the total number of new beds specific to those 12 to 24 years old to 247 province-wide

Most Read