Scientists develop mutant orange with almost no seeds

London: Those who don`t eat oranges because of their annoying pips, may soon enjoy the fruit without a hiccup, as scientist have developed a new variety which they say contains as little as two or three seeds.

The new variety developed by a team at the University of California is known as the KinnowLS- LS stands for low seeded.

According to the team, which has already developed seven citrus fruits in the past, the new variety contains 10 to 11fleshy segments. But, it has only two or three seeds, compared to usual 15or 30 seeds, the Daily Mail reported.

The researchers developed the new orange by mutation breeding of the mandarin variety Kinnow- a mid-to-late season maturing variety.

They described the new variety as slightly larger than a mandarin, with a thin, extremely smooth rind. Prof Mikeal Roose, who was part of the research, said: "People who like very sweet fruit are going to find `KinnowLS` to be very appealing.

"When other citrus varieties mature to reach the level of sweetness of `KinnowLS`, their other qualities- such as rindtexture- are in decline. Neither `Kinnow` nor `KinnowLS` suffer in this way."

Yet another attractive quality of `KinnowLS`, Prof Roose said, is that it can be grown in California`s desert regionsas the fruit, which matures between February and April, doeswell in hot climates.

Its predecessor, Kinnow is the most important mandarin in the Punjab regions of India and Pakistan, where the fruit`s trees constitute about 80 per cent of all citrus trees. But, farmers in those countries will have to wait a few years before `KinnowLS` trees develop roots there, the researchers said.

Currently, they plan to distribute `KinnowLS` to nurseries in California in June and hope that the fruit could be on supermarket shelves in five years.