Published April 15, 2014
You might say the apple fell from grace in the 1920s and '30s with the advent of refrigerated long-distance shipping.
Thanks to supermarket Darwinism, thousands of heirloom varieties, like many of those pictured here, went commercially extinct. Produce bins featured Delicious, Jonathan, and Rome—selected for durability and beauty, but boring in taste.
"People switched off their tastebuds," says Diane Miller, an apple geneticist at Ohio State University. Apple consciousness-raising, says Miller, came with the release of the aptly named Honeycrisp hybrid in 1991.
Food Shorts: Part 1
Now breeders create dozens of flavorful new hybrids a year and heirlooms are back in style.
Find this month's story from the National Geographic Future of Food series at natgeofood.com.
Feed the World
Through genetics, nutrients, irrigation, and pesticides, we figured out how to lift the constraints that nature placed upon us, author says.
A Silicon Valley vision: Instead of milking dairy cows, we could make milk in a lab with genetically engineered yeast.
Artificial sweeteners might unexpectedly increase blood sugar levels in some people, a study of gut microbes suggests.
Fracking for shale oil has boosted U.S. oil production to near-record levels. But the industry faces two challenges: low prices and low reserves.
Breeding the remaining northern white rhinoceroses with their cousins may preserve some of their genes, scientists say.
A steady trickle of water is bringing wildlife back to a few parts of the Colorado River Delta.
The Future of Food
How do we feed nine billion people by 2050, and how do we do so sustainably?
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