GENETICALLY engineered, unusually
tomatoes, which have a protect
mechanism against cancer and heart
diseases, may come up as the answer to
the caloric-conscious'craving for heal
food (New Scientist, Vol 147, No 1995)
Developed by Peter Bramley any
colleagues at the Royal Holloway
College, London, these tomatoes contain large amounts of antioxidants -
lycopene and beta-carotene. It V
believed that these compounds expel the
highly reactive free radical compound
from cells. The free radicals have the
potential for damaging the DNA and
even lead to cancerous mutations.
Besides, they are believed to trigger on
reactions which lead to fat deposits in
the arteries, thus causing heart attacks.
Lycopene, which gives tomatoes
their red colour, is present in twice twice
normal quantity in the genetically engineered variety. Its even distribution
throughout the inner parts of the
Bramley tomatoes results in their musually red hue.
mmunei belonging to a group
Unfib which impart the bright
Whim to carrots, are also prevent
qmmtities in the tomatoes,
wriety of other fruits and
IL 5 1 - are now trying to
beneficial effects of higher
m(coaknoids in the diet. Says
we developing technology
fruit and vegetables so that they produce more."
The extra lycopene and betacarotene was produced by inserting a
gene (into the tomatoes) which creates
phytoene synthase, a compound in
plants which triggers the synthesis of
many carotenoids. The researchers have
begun evaluating some 30 other types of
carotenoids. They are also studying
genes or gene groups which would help
in the production of carotenoids. If
successful, the team would go on to engineer other fruits and vegetables,
including peppers and carrots.
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