GMO Tomatoes; A Brief Introduction


Biotechnology as a whole has done a lot for us and in a very short span of time .It has raised up to a great standard and continuing the researchers are striving hard to make new innovations to make our lives healthier. Recently, researchers in the United Kingdom have genetically engineered a tomato to produce anthocyanin which is a red or blue pigment found in berries like beets, grapes as well as in many flowers and because of which the fruits and flowers get the blue or red color. These tomatoes with anthocyanin are not produced just for the sake of color, but it may provide protection against tumors.

This type of tomato was engineered a few years ago and the test was conducted over a mouse who supposedly was suffering from cancer. He was fed with a diet supplemented with the anthocyanin fortified tomato and it was found that he lived a longer life as compared to his counterparts having the same disease. The anthocyanin also prove to be naturally preserved and thus it keeps the fruit fresh for a duration which is almost double than the common tomatoes.

First genetically modified tomato was produced in 1994 in US named as ‘Flavrsavr’ in which a different mechanism was used as it was allowed to ripe in the vine itself rather than picking it and ripen it artificially. Through this product was not very successful and within 4-5 years it disappeared. In Europe this tomato was strictly banned and till today in the entire Europe you won’t find GMO tomatoes as they consider the same to be harmful. But of late researchers of the UK have realized that GMO tomatoes have potential which can be captured and modified into something of great use to humans.

Crops of anthocyanin-engineered tomatoes are grown in Canada and this tomato even derives its roots from South America back in the 16th century since. As it has already been mentioned Europe is against the GMO fruit, so it’s quite tough to cultivate this fruit over here. However the medical trials of this tomato would be done in the UK. The trials would be performed with tomato juice and it would be very interesting to see how the trails go and we have to keep our fingers crossed to see what outcome is derived. If everything goes well, then very soon we would be able to get this breed of tomato commercially in the open market.


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