The GM Tomato That Stays Fresh For SIX WEEKS - But Would You Want To Eat It?
I love heirloom tomatoes not the tasteless, cardboardy hybrids sold in most grocery stores. We grow heirloom tomatoes in our garden. In fact our whole family does. Why? Cost, flavour, freshness, and so on. Then I read the article below and I simply cringe!
The GM tomato that stays fresh for SIX WEEKS - but would you want to eat it?
Tomatoes could stay fresh for an extra month thanks to a genetic breakthrough
The curse of the soggy tomato could soon be a thing of the past ... or so scientists say.
They have created a fruit which is said to stay fresh for 45 days - three times longer than the conventional version.
But the drawbacks are that it is the result of genetic engineering, and no one is saying what it actually tastes like.
The researchers believe the same process could be applied to other fruits, including bananas and mangoes.
However, the need for extensive safety testing means it will be years before the GM fruits could go on sale in British supermarkets, if ever.
Researchers in India lengthened the life of tomatoes by 'turning off' genes linked to the production of ripening enzymes.
This increased firmness and stopped the tomatoes going soft for
up to 45 days, according to a report in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The researchers, from the National Institute of Plant Genomic Research in New Delhi, said the breakthrough could prove a boon for farmers who lose up to 40 per cent of their fruit to over-ripening.
Shelf life: How the tomatoes compare after 45 days
Dr Asis Datta said: 'Overall, the results demonstrate a substantial improvement in shelf life.
'The engineering of plants provides a strategy for crop improvement that can be extended to other important fruit crops.' The banana, mango and papaya all have a genetic make-up which could be manipulated in this way, Dr Datta added.
But Pete Riley, from the campaign group GM Freeze, said: 'The majority of the public are very sceptical about the benefits of GM foods and I don't think that this will do anything to persuade them.
'We have survived for millennia without needing to extend the shelf life of fruits and vegetables.'
He added that although the GM tomatoes might appear to be fresh for a month and a half, their vitamin content could decline, making them less nutritious than normal varieties.
The researchers in India are not the first to try to use genetics to create healthier or more appealing food. British scientists have created purple tomatoes rich in the antioxidants said to keep cancer at bay.
U.S. scientists have bred pigs whose fat is high in the omega-3 fatty acids thought to combat heart disease.
Genetically modified food is not banned in Britain, provided it is clearly labelled and undergoes rigorous tests. But supermarkets so far refuse to stock it because of public concern over safety.