Why Purple Limes Could Be the Future of Florida Citrus

Horticulture scientist Dr. Manjul Dutt from the UF Cirtus and Research Education Center are developing GM limes that have some similar genetic factors to grape skin.These modified Key Limes have a protein that induces anthocyanin biosynthesis, the process that creates the “red” in red wine, and causes the limes to develop purple flesh. Here is a lab technician from the CREC cutting open one of these limes:

Anthocyanins are also naturally expressed in blood oranges.This variety of orange need cold temperatures to develop a vibrant red color, so they currently cannot be commercially grown in the subtropical climate of the Florida citrus belt.  These purple Key lime are the first step toward producing blood oranges that can be grown by Florida farmers.

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