Crop Biotech Update

GM Purple Tomatoes Harvested in Canada

January 29, 2014

Genetically modified (GM) purple tomatoes developed by John Innes Centre (JIC) scientists in the UK are being harvested in Ontario, Canada, for future research and to attract private investors. The harvest from the 5,000 square-foot glass house will yield GM tomatoes to produce 2,000 liters of purple tomato juice. It will be used to generate new research and industry collaborations and to start the process of seeking the regulatory authorization needed to bring a commercial juice to market.

JIC Professor Cathie Martin said "We want to explore a way for consumers to benefit from our discoveries, as we are finding there is a demand for the added health benefits." The tomatoes derive their color from high levels of anthocyanins, have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects compared to regular ones and slows down the progression of soft-tissue carcinoma in cancer-prone mice. They also have double the shelf life of regular tomatoes.

The tomatoes and juice can be used to study the effects of a high anthocyanin diet on cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other chronic diseases. Other varieties, high in compounds such as resveratrol normally found in red wine, are already being used to develop skin care products.

For more details, read the news release at: http://news.jic.ac.uk/2014/01/gm-purple-tomatoes/.