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

Fraser-Nicola BC Liberal Party candidate Jackie Tegart with supporters on the Ashcroft bridge, Oct. 21, 2020. Tegart is the frontrunner in the riding after the initial vote count, with mail-in ballots to be counted starting on Nov. 6. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Liberal incumbent Jackie Tegart holds narrow lead over Aaron Sumexheltza of NDP

Initial count is complete, and mail-in ballots will determine who wins in Fraser-Nicola

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

(from l) Fraser-Nicola candidates Jonah Timms (BC Green Party), Jackie Tegart (BC Liberal Party), and Aaron Sumexheltza (BC NDP). The polls have now closed and the counting has started. (Photo credit: Submitted)
Results awaited in Fraser-Nicola as polls have now closed

Counting of advance and election day votes has begun; mail-in votes to be counted starting Nov. 6

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Most Read