FrankenFruit – scientists engineer meal to make your day

Posted on July 7, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

SCIENTISTS say they have genetically engineered fruit and vegetables capable of providing most of a day’s nutrients in a single meal.
 
Heading towards the market are potatoes with 33 per cent more protein content, modified tomatoes that could be capable of protecting against cancer and peanuts without the chemicals that cause deadly nut allergies.
 
Such foods, the first genetic modifications offering nutritional benefits to consumers, would be in marked contrast to the GM crops marketed to date. These were designed to boost the profits made by farmers and seed firms by raising yields or cutting costs.
 
Their attempted introduction to Europe in the late 1990s provoked a backlash from consumers suspicious at being asked to consume plants whose DNA had been “contaminated” but which offered them no benefit.
 
Plant scientists hope the new plants will reverse such fears.
 
“It’s time to reopen the debate over GM crops,” said Chris Leaver, professor of plant science at Oxford University and a long-term supporter of GM. “Earth’s population will reach nine billion by 2040. We need crops that offer better nutritional quality, can withstand drought, use fertiliser more efficiently and resist diseases and pests. GM can contribute to achieving that.”
 
Such claims will infuriate the green lobby, which sees the promotion of the new “nutritionally enhanced” crops as a cynical marketing exercise. Some scientists, however, have growing impatience with such views. They point out that the BioCassava Plus project is funded with a $12.4million donation from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation rather than a profit-hungry corporation, and say it could help ease food shortages in Africa.
 
“Who wants to eat a giant bowl of cassava or golden rice each day? These ideas are just a new way of marketing GM.”
 
Read full from The Sunday Times
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