Those genetic tinkerers have been at it again. This time they have produced a purple tomato that has superior taste and longer shelf life.
The researchers from the John Innes Centre, UK, spliced genes from the snapdragon into tomato to cause the plant to produce high levels of anthocyanin, an antioxidant responsible for the colour in soft fruits such as blueberry and blackcurrants.
The plants were actually produced back in 2008 and since then research has shown the tomato to prolong the life of cancer prone mice and increase shelf life from 21 to 48 days. The recent paper published in Cell, describes how the increased anthocyanin prolongs shelf left.
The researchers say for countries not keen on GM plants, efforts could be focused on identifying tomatoes naturally high in anthocyanins and starting a breeding project.