GMO tomato, which contains 10 times more antioxidants, has helped mice with cancer live 30% longer in Norfolk Plant Sciences research.
Now the genetically modified tomato is ready to enter the US market. A researcher-developed “super tomato” crossed with snapdragon flower genes to increase levels of anthocyanins, which have anti-diabetic, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and other health benefits.
The genetically modified tomato was first developed in 2008 when scientists added two flower genes to a tomato to produce a dark purple color. The distinctive hue is created by antioxidant pigments also found in blackberries and cranberries, known as anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are chemicals called flavonoids that destroy potentially harmful oxygen molecules in the body. Although they are naturally produced by tomato plants, they are usually found only in the leaves.
The team tested the purple tomato to see if it was healthy. In the study, genetically modified tomatoes were given to mice with cancer, and then another group of mice with the disease were given traditional tomatoes. Mice fed GMO purple tomatoes lived an average of 30 percent longer than mice fed regular red tomatoes.
However, this study was conducted in 2008, and only now the new “super tomato” has received permission for cultivation and use in the United States. The creators plan to first sell seeds with modified genes to local agricultural companies.