DEC 11, 2020 11:16 PM PST

Could Tomatoes Be Therapy for Parkinson?

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Could tomatoes be the next Parkinson’s drug? Researchers have introduced novel use of tomatoes for therapy.

Scientists have genetically modified a tomato enriched in the Parkinson disease drug L-DOPA in what can become an affordable and essential medicine. Genetically modified (GM) tomato has implications in developing countries where access to pharmaceutical drugs is restricted.

Professor Cathie Martin (FRS), corresponding author of the study explains: "The idea is that you can grow tomatoes with relatively little infrastructure. As GMOs (genetically modified organisms) you could grow them in screen houses, controlled environments with very narrow meshes, so you would not have pollen escape through insects.

"Then you could scale up at relatively low cost. A local industry could prepare L-DOPA from tomatoes because it's soluble and you can do extractions. Then you could make a purified product relatively low tech which could be dispensed locally."

Learn more about GM food:

"We have demonstrated that the use of the tyrosinase-expressing tomatoes as a source of L-DOPA is possible. It's a further demonstration of tomato as a strong option for synthetic biology. Additionally, there were surprising beneficial effects including improvement in shelf-life and raised levels of amino-acids that we can investigate," says first author Dr Dario Breitel.

Source: Science Daily

About the Author
BS/MS
Nouran is a scientist, educator, and life-long learner with a passion for making science more communicable. When not busy in the lab isolating blood macrophages, she enjoys writing on various STEM topics.
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