A genetically modified purple tomato, which was developed by food scientists in Norwich, was approved for sale in the United States in September 2022. It was declared as safe to eat by the FDA. What genetically modified plants involve is the addition of genes to the DNA of a plant from a different plant species. It helps in getting new varieties that couldn’t have been obtained via cross-breeding.
Prof Cathie Martin who developed the purple tomato at the John Innes Centre in Norwich said, “The product had ‘exceptional antioxidant properties’, having crossed the genes with a snapdragon flower. The greater good would be if people in the UK in particular, but world over if possible, could have more nutritious food to eat.”
The purple tomato is said to be rich in anthocyanin that have been linked to a wide range of health benefits that comprise cardiovascular health & prevention of dementia & cancer.
Hunger is one of the global challenges of the 21st century. In spite of a few of its improvements in the last twenty years, global hunger is again on the rise. While 2.3 billion people have no adequate access to food, 9 million die from hunger-related causes every year and most of them are children under the age of 5. When faced with such staggering statistics, it is natural to wish for one simple solution to prevent these issues and rid the world of hunger. The use of genetically modified crops is among the proposed solutions.
Factors driving the development of GM crops include the urgent requirement to meet the surge in demands of a growing population globally, tackling climate change & ensuring sustainable food production. Researchers want to improve crop resilience, productivity as well as nutritional value of crops by leveraging genetic engineering. In this article, we will look at how genetic engineering contributes to the development of GM crops.