The United Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved the purple tomato, which is a genetically modified crop that can be grown safely and used for selling in the American markets in the coming year. one can sell these cherry-size purple tomatoes from Cathie’s Norfolk Plant Sciences in the market from 2023. These purple tomatoes have 10 times higher antioxidants than those existing ones. As per the research report of Nature Biotechnology, the gene-edited tomatoes produce a higher amount of antioxidants called anthocyanins. These anthocyanins contain anticancer, antidiabetic, antimicrobial, and anti-obesity elements that are beneficial in preventing diseases. These antioxidants also help in decreasing the pain and swelling in the body. Anthocyanins are usually found in blueberries and blackberries.
But there is an interesting story behind the formation of this purple tomato. Cathie Martin, The plant scientist, and his partners were trying to create a tomato with more antioxidants (Anthocyanin) in the John Innes Centre. Cathie and the team used two genes from the snapdragon flower and inserted them into a tomato. These two genes from the snapdragon flower are responsible for forming a higher amount of antioxidants. Purple tomatoes are also very special as they can stay fresh longer than the pre-existing ones. Cathie and the team of other scientists were working on the shape (as these tomatoes were smaller before) and taste betterment of this purple tomato. In the coming years, other products from these purple tomatoes will be formed, such as purple tomato juice, Beefsteak tomato, Sun-dried tomato etc. Cathie also wants people to cultivate this new variety of tomatoes in their gardens.
The purple tomato is a Genetically modified plant crop that undergoes alteration in its genes or DNA. Genetic modification is the process that involves the insertion of DNA in the genome of some host. The initial stage is the transfer of the required DNA in the specific plant cell. This transfer is done by introducing the gene of interest into the bacterial cell, which works as a vector. Overall steps in the GM organism involve DNA extraction, Cloning, Transformation, Tissue culture and plant breeding. Many crop varieties, like corn, soybean, potato, papaya, etc., are formed due to genetic modification. The first variety of GM crops was Tomato by Flavr Savr in 1994, which came into existence. But due to its lower advantage, it was not introduced into the market for use.
Purple tomatoes could prove very beneficial for the health of people. Scientists all around the world are praising this new variety of tomatoes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q – What are GM crops?
A- Gm crops or genetically modified crops are formed with the modification in the plant species at the genetic level. These modifications cannot happen naturally; hence need tools and technology to complete the whole process.
Q – Are GM crops allowed in India?
A- India has approved the cultivation of only one GM crop, i.e., Bt cotton. Since 2009, no new genetically modified crops have been formed.
Q – What are some examples of GM crops?
A- Genetically modified crops include BT brinjal potato, Mustard, corn, soy etc. However, the first GM crop discovered was GM tomato in 1994.
Q – What are the benefits of GM crops?
A- GM crops have many benefits like it tastes better, has higher resistance, are less vulnerable to infection, are more nutritious etc.
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