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Scientists grow purple tomatoes

Scientists grow purple tomatoes

Scientists have grown genetically-engineered purple tomatoes in an unusual endeavour to promote healthy food.
The tomatoes include two genes taken from the snapdragon flower (Antirrhinum majus) to enable them to express a compound called anthocyanin, the purple pigment found in high levels in fruit such as blackberries and cranberries.
Previous research has found that anthocyanins offer protection against certain cancers, cardiovascular disease and degenerative diseases, and may also hinder inflammation, obesity and diabetes.
Researcher Cathie Martin from the John Innes center, a biotechnology institute in Norwich, eastern England, said the point behind the purple toms was to boost the healthiness of diets.
After creating the purple tomatoes in a lab, the team tested the products on mice that they had engineered to make them susceptible to cancer.
Mice fed with the high-anthocyanin tomatoes "showed a significant extension" of lifespan, they found.
"This is one of the first examples of metabolic engineering that offers the potential to promote health through diet by reducing the impact of chronic disease, and certainly the first example of a GMO [genetically-modified organism] that really offers a potential benefit for all consumers," Martin said.


Updated : 2021-06-15 05:28 GMT+08:00