Making Vegetables and Fruits Healthier Through GM

pearGenetic modification, especially in different food crops have been utilized in order to develop better plants. Some of the GM plants already developed have targeted having hardier properties that makes them more pest resistant. Some are made to provide better quality harvests.

But there are also other ways on how to better utilize the technology, and that is by making some foods healthier as in the case of developing genetically modified fruits and vegetables. And it won’t be long until some scientists may be able to develop such crops for general consumption.

In the case of tomatoes, it is now possible to improve their antioxidant actions through a direct change in the production of flavonoids through genetic modification. According to an article in ( ) research done by Elio Schijlen at the Plant Research Center International, changing the way tomatoes produce flavonoids through genetic modification can be done by genetically modifying and directly changing the biosysthesis process of tomatoes.

Schijlen tried different approaches in order to achieve this. One of the approaches that he used was to investigate the possibility of trying to increase the production of flavonoids by means of transcription factors, with proteins that is involved in regulating gene activity.

Flavonoids are those compounds that are found naturally occurring in fruits and vegetables. These compounds are known to have a number of beneficial biochemical and antioxidant effects in the body. Trying to make crops such as tomatoes produce more flavonoids may make them a healthier food for human consumption.

With this aim, Schijlen also investigated the possibility of making tomatoes produce more flavonoids by using genes from other plants such as alfalfa and grapes which have a part in the biosynthesis of flavonoids in these plants and used them to genetically modify tomatoes.

This approach proved to be successful in making the genetically modified tomatoes produce more flavonoids. And not only that, the genetically modified tomatoes were also seen to produce new flavonoids that wasn’t previously seen in tomatoes. The possible health enhancing effects of the genetically modified tomatoes were tested on mice through feeding studies with BASF Plant Science and TNO.

The blood analyses of the mice in the study showed that those who were fed tomatoes with increased flavonoids had a substantial effect on their blood properties which was a characteristic of having a reduced risk of cardiovascular disorders.

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