United Kingdom: Genetically modified tomato containing as much provitamin D3 as two eggs

In the United Kingdom, to meet the long-term lack of sunlight and vitamin D deficiency, scientists have invented a genetically modified tomato, which is rich in provitamin D3.

British scientists have created genetically modified tomatoes, each containing two eggs or a tablespoon of tuna containing provitamin D3, a precursor to vitamin D.

Outdoor trials of these tomatoes will begin in the UK next month. If successful, these will be put on sale and could be an important new dietary source of vitamin D.

Between 13% and 19% of Britons have low levels of vitamin D, which is responsible for maintaining healthy bones, teeth and muscles. This is explained, first of all, by the virtual absence of the Sun for a long period of the year.

In the UK there is not enough sunlight, which mainly converts provitamin D3 into the active form of vitamin D, between April and September.

That’s why it is imperative for scientists to rely on food sources like fatty fish, red meat or even egg yolks and mushrooms, to get enough vitamin D in the body.

Still, someone had to think of a “revolution” for vegetarians. And this requires first of all the genetic modification of plants.

Guy Poppy, Professor of Ecology at the University of Southampton, said: “Genetic modification of tomatoes to store provitamin D3 at levels above dietary recommendations could improve the health of many people, especially when tomatoes are widely available and available. It’s an easy-to-eat food.”

Convert Provitamin D3 to Cholesterol

This is because the tomato plants were created by making small changes to an already existing tomato gene using an editing technique called Crisp-Cas9.

“It’s like molecular tweezers, which you can use to fine-tune a very small piece of a gene to improve a desirable trait in plants, much faster than in the traditional breeding process and without introducing foreign DNA from other species.” can for,” Ji Li said. John Innes Center in Norwich, who led the research.

Scientists then became interested in an enzyme present in tomato plants that normally converts provitamin D3 into cholesterol. By modifying this, the researchers were able to block this pathway, which allows provitamin D3 to accumulate in tomato fruits and leaves.

The researchers also found that the amount of provitamin D3 in one tomato fruit, if converted to vitamin D3, was comparable to the levels found in two medium-sized eggs or 28 grams of tuna.

To convert this amount into active vitamin D3, the fruits must be exposed to UVB light, or they can be grown outside, which the researchers plan to test in upcoming field trials. The research results have been published in Nature Plants.

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