GM "Super Tomato" Might Save Our Health if We Put Them on Our Pizzas

By Gary Cutlack on at

Scientists trying to stop us turning into concealed fatty tumours think that creating a new form of tomato might help, by incorporating all the good things from other foodstuffs and making the healthiest possible fruit. Or the healthiest possible vegetable, whichever one a tomato is.

The answer to bettering our health, according to a team of John Innes Centre researchers, is to genetically modify a tomato so that it contains the good things from red wine and the beans that go into tofu, suggesting that the modified tomato of the future might be some sort of medicinal superfood that can cure or at least delays the ills of the world.

The super tomato works by introducing the AtMYB12 protein to a particular strain. Plant scientists discovered that this works as a sort of key within the tomato, activating a wider set of genes inside it -- genes that produce additional good things that might make people healthier.

Researchers say that just one of these new so-called tomatoes contain as much resveratrol -- the good bit -- as 50 bottles of red wine. But sadly none of the alcohol.

Dr Yang Zhang, from the John Innes Centre, said: "Medicinal plants with high value are often difficult to grow and manage, and need very long cultivation times to produce the desired compounds. Our research provides a fantastic platform to quickly produce these valuable medicinal compounds in tomatoes. Target compounds could be purified directly from tomato juice." [Scotsman]