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Genetically modified purple tomato approved by US regulators

Date: 14.9.2022 

After more than a decade of development a nutritionally enhanced purple tomato has been deemed safe to grow by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The tomatoes have been gene edited to produce 10 times more antioxidants than pre-existing varieties.

Kredit: Norfolk Plant Sciences.The 2008 study reported testing the health effects of this anthocyanin-boosted tomato on mice engineered to develop cancer. The mice fed a diet supplemented with the purple tomatoes were found to live 30% longer than mice fed a regular diet.

"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," said plant biologist Cathie Martin in 2008. "And certainly the first example of a GMO [genetically modified organism] with a trait that really offers a potential benefit for all consumers.”

After a long time spent navigating regulatory processes, the genetically modified purple tomato is now one step closer to the market following a tick of approval by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). This authorization means the genetically modified plant is no longer regulated with strict controls limiting where and how it can be grown. It can be safely grown anywhere in the United States like any other allowable crop.

The US approval marks the first place in the world to allow the genetically modified product to be grown. Martin and Jones hope the tomatoes will be approved in the United Kingdom soon.

 


 

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