Flavonol-enriched tomatoes had altered levels of at least fifteen
Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum mill.).
LC and C1 regulatory genes from maize; promoter not
Transgenic tomatoes that overexpress the LC and C1 genes
and therefore produce more flavonols (flavonoid glycosides), which
are antioxidants. This study investigated, through metabolic profiling,
whether the genetic manipulation brings about other changes in substances
There was a greater than ten-fold increase in the amount of flavonols.
The amounts of at least fifteen other substances were altered (in
statistically significant amounts). For example, there was two to three
times less citric acid, sucrose, and phenylalanine, and two to three
times more trigonelline (an alkaloid) in the transgenic tomatoes.
The transgenic plants and the nontransgenic controls were "grown
side-by-side in a glass house under hydroponic conditions with identical
treatments (nutrients, light, etc.)." The authors call the changes in
the amounts of nontarget substances "minor" since they were within the
"natural variation that would be observed in a field-grown crop." Of
course, this conclusion assumes that the transgenic plants, which show
these differences under controlled conditions, would vary under field
conditions in the same way as unmanipulated plants. There is no evidence
that this is the case.
Le Gall, G., I. Colquhoun, A. Davis, G. Collins et al. (2003). "Metabolite
Profiling of Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) using 1H NMR
Spectroscopy as a Tool to Detect Potential Unintended Effects Following
a Genetic Modification," J. Agric. Food Chem. vol. 51, pp. 2447-56.
Institute for Food Research, UK (see below), and Unilever Research, UK.
Institute of Food Research, UK (according to its website: a
"not-for-profit company with charitable status" sponsored by the
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, which is the
UK's principal public funder of basic and strategic biological research)
and Unilever Research (Pharmaceutical Company), UK.
Not on the market as of 2008.
Copyright 2008 The Nature