A genetically modified potato, “engineered to eliminate a potentially harmful ingredient that emerges in the high heat required for French fries and potato chips,” has been approved for commercial planting by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, reports The New York Times.
The potato’s genetic composition has been altered to include a smaller amount of a chemical called acrylamide, which has been connected to cancer in rodents, and is a suspected human carcinogen.
The new potato, developed by the J.R. Simplot Company — one of the nation’s largest potato producers and a major supplier to McDonald’s — is called the Innate potato, and is also designed to resist bruising that commonly occurs in conventional potatoes and renders them unusable.
Unlike some other GMO crops, the Innate potato “does not contain genes from other species like bacteria,” but rather was engineered "with DNA sequences that serve to silence four of the potatoes’ own genes involved in the production of certain enzymes."
Simplot is currently in the process of applying for approval for another GMO potato that is resistant to late blight, the cause of the Irish potato famine, according to The New York Times.
The Innate potato is the latest GMO crop to be approved for commercial growth in the U.S., including corn, canola, sugar beets, and soybeans, among others.
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Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.