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The Republican National Convention is in 4 days in Cleveland.

The Democratic National Convention is in 11 days in Philadelphia.

NASA has released the first picture of Jupiter taken since the Juno spacecraft went into orbit around the planet on July 4.

The picture was taken on July 10. Juno was 2.7 million miles from Jupiter at the time. The color image shows some of the atmospheric features of the planet, including the giant red spot. You can also see three of Jupiter's moons in the picture: Io, Europa and Ganymede.

The Senate is set to approve a bill intended to change the way police and health care workers treat people struggling with opioid addictions.

My husband and I once took great pleasure in preparing meals from scratch. We made pizza dough and sauce. We baked bread. We churned ice cream.

Then we became parents.

Now there are some weeks when pre-chopped veggies and a rotisserie chicken are the only things between us and five nights of Chipotle.

Parents are busy. For some of us, figuring out how to get dinner on the table is a daily struggle. So I reached out to food experts, parents and nutritionists for help. Here is some of their (and my) best advice for making weeknight meals happen.

"O Canada," the national anthem of our neighbors up north, comes in two official versions — English and French. They share a melody, but differ in meaning.

Let the record show: neither version of those lyrics contains the phrase "all lives matter."

But at the 2016 All-Star Game, the song got an unexpected edit.

At Petco Park in San Diego, one member of the Canadian singing group The Tenors — by himself, according to the other members of the group — revised the anthem.

School's out, and a lot of parents are getting through the long summer days with extra helpings of digital devices.

How should we feel about that?

Police in Baton Rouge say they have arrested three people who stole guns with the goal of killing police officers. They are still looking for a fourth suspect in the alleged plot, NPR's Greg Allen reports.

"Police say the thefts were at a Baton Rouge pawn shop early Saturday morning," Greg says. "One person was arrested at the scene. Since then, two others have been arrested and six of the eight stolen handguns have been recovered. Police are still looking for one other man."

A 13-year-old boy is among those arrested, Greg says.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

After an international tribunal invalidated Beijing's claims to the South China Sea, Chinese authorities have declared in no uncertain terms that they will be ignoring the ruling.

The Philippines brought the case to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, objecting to China's claims to maritime rights in the disputed waters. The tribunal agreed that China had no legal authority to claim the waters and was infringing on the sovereign rights of the Philippines.

Donald Trump is firing back at Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after she disparaged him in several media interviews. He tweeted late Tuesday that she "has embarrassed all" with her "very dumb political statements" about the candidate. Trump ended his tweet with "Her mind is shot - resign!":

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If Genetically Modified Apples Don't Brown, Can You Tell If They're Rotten?

Sep 26, 2012
Originally published on September 27, 2012 3:13 pm

In the fairy-tale world, a shiny red apple can lead to a poisonous end. But some see two genetically engineered green apple varieties, poised to become the first to gain U.S. Department of Agriculture approval, as similar harbingers of doom.

Okaganan Specialty Fruits Inc., the company that has developed Granny Smith and Golden Delicious varieties that don't go brown when you slice them, says the fears are overblown and the apples are safe to eat.

Now, we've reported extensively on the heated debate over labeling genetically engineered food, and there's no denying that genetically modified (GM) foods are a polarizing issue. But would an apple that doesn't turn brown prevent us from telling whether it's rotten? The short answer is no. For the long answer, read on.

The non-browning trait aims to please consumers who don't like brown apples or the off taste from the preservatives frequently used to maintain color and fresh appearance in packages of pre-sliced apples, says Neal Carter, Okanagan's president. "Ultimately, we just want people to eat more apples," he says. Carter also argues the innovation would help apple slice producers, who can lose up to half of their product from browning during production.

Nevertheless, as the public comment period on a petition to approve these apples closed last month, many consumers worry — are they safe to eat?

First, let's look at the physical properties of apples. No matter how you slice it, every apple turns brown eventually. "When their flesh is cut, the oxygen in the air interacts with chemicals in the flesh of the apple," says Susan Brown, a plant scientist at Cornell University. An enzyme called polyphenol oxidase, or PPO, makes melanin, an iron-containing compound that gives apple cells a brown tinge. The same type of "oxidative" browning happens in the browning of tea, coffee or mushrooms, explains Brown.

Within five minutes of slicing, browning can alter the taste and might not be as aesthetically pleasing, but it doesn't mean the apple is old or rotten.

To prevent oxidative browning, the GM apples developed by Okanagan stop PPO production with a man-made gene containing pieces of four natural PPO genes. An insertion with gene fragments is an automatic red flag for the apple cell — usually the first step of viral attack — so it chops up every sequence of DNA that looks like the suspicious fragment, and the apple flesh stays light.

"The beauty of this [process] is it's a natural plant defense mechanism," says Carter. Even when sliced, these apples stay clear of browning for about two weeks — that's roughly the same extended life span as apple slices from McDonald's and Burger King, which use lemon juice and calcium ascorbate to prevent browning.

But if the apple doesn't go brown, then how do you tell if it's rotten? An apple with just oxidative browning isn't automatically rotten. Rotting comes from a fungal or bacterial infection, which causes the apple to go either mushy or dry. Infecting spores, not melanin, also give the flesh a dark brown hue. So, taking PPO out of the equation won't make a rotten apple appear pristine. "'Bad' apples will still be evident," says Brown. Rotting GM apples look rotten and turn brown from a bacterial or fungal infection the same as a conventional apple.

But Bill Freese, a science policy analyst at the Center for Food Safety, notes that some studies in tomatoes have shown that silencing PPO has an impact on a plant's susceptibility to diseases and invasive insects because the enzyme may play a role in plant defense reactions.

Since we already have hybrid "low browning" varieties and successful preservative treatments, some people wonder whether we really need an apple that doesn't go brown. "We fully support genetic and genomics research," says Mark Gedris, the US Apple Association's director of communications. "But we haven't heard customers calling for a non-browning GE [genetically engineered] apple."

From nutrient value to taste, these apples are indistinguishable from a normal one, say Carter and Brown. If they do gain USDA approval, whether people will buy them is another story. "It's up to the consumer to decide," Brown says.

As we've reported before, many of our processed foods that contain soy or corn are genetically modified, but fresh produce has been a tougher sell. Anybody remember the Flavr Savr tomato?

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.