Spicy Tomatoes Created With Genetic Engineering
One-step spicy tomato sauce! A new paper published in the journal Trends in Plant Science proposes engineering tomato plants to produce capsaicinoids.
The paper, written by a group at Brazil’s Federal University of Viçosa, builds on recent work that showed the tomato has all the genetic information it needs to produce capsaicinoids. “We know that all the genes are there, but in the tomato they are silent,” study author Agustin Zsӧgӧn says. His paper proposes a method for using gene-editing techniques to activate the genetic machinery in the tomato that tells it how to produce capsaicinoids, transforming the plant into both a “biofactory” that could produce larger amounts of the chemicals than it’s currently possible to grow and a spicy snack.
A spicy tomato seems similar to what the Little People in Methuselah's Children, the 1941 Heinlein novel, did for the human settlers on their planet.
[One of the Little People] indicated to Lazarus that he wanted him to eat.
Lazarus was not particularly hungry but he felt compelled to humor such friendliness, so he plucked [the fruit] and ate.
He almost choked in his astonishment. Mashed potatoes and brown gravy!
". . . didn't we get it right? - . ." came an anxious thought.
"Bub," Lazarus said solemnly, "I don't know what you planned to do, but this is just fine!"
(Read more about genetically modified food)
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