Scientists modify tomato to fight cancer
October 28, 2008 by Personal Liberty News Desk
Science has taken its efforts at developing genetically modified foods one step further, creating a type of tomato that is hoped to help combat cancer.
The purple tomatoes were created by British researchers by incorporating genes from the snapdragon flower, a plant that contains an antioxidant called anthocyanin.
Anthocyanin is already naturally found in blackberries, cranberries and chokeberries, but scientists sought a way to make it easier to incorporate into the diet.
After developing the tomato, the team fed it to rats that had been engineered to develop cancer and compared the effects to mice that ate a normal diet.
The animals that ate purple tomatoes lived around 182 days on average, compared with the 142-day lifespan of the control group.
Although the health benefits of the new tomato may be welcomed by some, others have raised concerns about the safety of eating so-called Frankenfoods created in a laboratory rather than those which grow naturally without the intervention of science.
Last month, the FDA released guidelines on how it plans to regulate genetically modified meats. Some experts were surprised that these foods would not necessarily have to be labeled as such.