Monday, October 27, 2008

Cancer-fighting dragon - well, a snapdragon tomato

I didn't want to depress people by writing about hospital incompetence or some such, so I figured I'd seek out some good news.

And I found some:

You can add genetically engineered, purple tomatoes to the list of cancer-fighting foods.

British researchers engineered the fruit to contain nutrients more commonly seen in dark berries, which have been shown to lower the risk of cancer, heart disease and some neurological diseases....

Physorg has more:

Researchers from the John Innes Centre in Norwich, Great Britain, in collaboration with other European centres participating to the FLORA project, have obtained genetically modified tomatoes rich in anthocyanins, a category of antioxidants belonging to the class of flavonoids. These tomatoes, added to the diet of cancer-prone mice, showed a significant protective effect by extending the mice lifespan. The research has been published in the 26 October issue of Nature Biotechnology....

In order to obtain fruit particularly rich in anthocyanins, that has conferred a peculiar purple colour to the tomatoes, the British team has used two genes from the snapdragon flower: Delila and Rosea1.

Well, this is good to know, and presumably the mice were willing to eat it, but how do snapdragon tomatoes taste? The John Innes Centre press release does not address this minor detail, but it does emphatically note:

Seeds are not available for sale

P.S. If you are an online subscriber to Nature Biotechnology, you can read the full article here.

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