Scientists have modified the genome of a tomato plant so that it can produce vitamin D in hopes of helping solve a deficiency that affects an estimated 1 billion people worldwide.
In a study published in the journal Nature Plants, a team of international researchers said the tomato was made using crisp gene-editing technology to add vitamins to fruit peels and meat.
Vitamins, which the human body can produce when the skin is exposed to the sun, prevent diseases that affect bone strength and deficiencies are associated with cancer, Parkinson’s disease and dementia. Lower levels were associated with more severe cases in patients admitted to Covid-19.
Scientists are looking for ways to increase vitamin intake to meet global deficiencies at a time when more people are consuming plant-based foods that are good for the environment but often do not provide adequate nutrition.
Dominique van der Straten and Simon Strobe, researchers at the Laboratory of Functional Plant Biology at Ghent University in Belgium, wrote in a accompanying article in Nature Plants that the study “makes a leap forward in reducing our dependence on animal-based foods.”
Plants are generally considered a poor source of vitamins, which are more readily found in salmon, tuna or fish liver oil. U.S. manufacturers began consolidating dairy products in the 1930s, a practice that has expanded to include cereals, plant-based milk substitutes, and even orange juice supplements.
Since scientists used gene editing, they did not introduce DNA from other species. Instead, G. Lee, a writer and researcher at the John Ines Center in Norwich Research Park, developed a desirable trait in plants by cutting a gene into small pieces using “like a pair of molecular tweezers”. , England, during a press conference.
According to Lee, two tomatoes would fill the gap between the recommended daily vitamin D intake and average consumption in the UK.
Scientists say the method could be applied to eggplant, potatoes and peppers. They also believe that vitamin D levels can be further enhanced by sun-drying, and that leaves that contain extremely high levels of nutrients can be used to make supplements or to fortify other foods, providing more sources of income. The farmer
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