Purple GMO Tomatoes are Growing Medicines in the UK

30/10/2015 - 2 minutes

Meet the purple tomatoes which produce as much Revervesterol in a single fruit as 50 bottles of wine, and as much anti-breast cancer chemical as 2.5Kg of Tofu!

john-innes-logoThe John Innes Centre in Norwich (East England) have engineered these tomato plants to produce larger amounts of these health-related compounds. With funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and as part of the European ATHENA project, these GMO tomato plants could be hugely helpful in industrial scaling up of production for these compounds.

This project was started of by the extraction of the AtMYB12 protein from the common UK garden plant Arabidopsis thaliana, which is also a common model from the mustard family (Brassicaceae) for research in plant biology.

The research team at Cathie Martin‘s lab found that the AtMYB12 protein could be used to activate biosynthesis pathways of Reversterol in tomatoes, as well as other phenylpropanoids and flavanoids of Biotech interest.

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