CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology develops 'tomatoes that can be rich in vitamin D just by eating'

Vitamin D is one of the essential nutrients for humans, but it is difficult to get enough vitamin D from food alone, and vitamin D deficiency can be a serious health problem. Researchers at the John Innes Center in the United Kingdom have announced that they have succeeded in developing 'tomatoes that can take a lot of vitamin D' using gene editing with CRISPR-Cas9.

Biofortified tomatoes provide a new route to vitamin D sufficiency | Nature Plants

CRISPR tomatoes genetically engineered to be richer in vitamin D

Vitamin D is a nutrient that supports the absorption of calcium and phosphorus and is especially important for maintaining bone health and strengthening the immune system. However, it is difficult to get vitamin D from food alone, and most of it depends on what is produced by the skin when exposed to the ultraviolet rays from the sun.

As a result, being in an environment where you can't sunbathe outdoors is prone to vitamin D deficiency, which increases your risk of heart disease, autoimmune disease, and bone and muscle weakness, with an estimated 1 billion people worldwide having vitamin D deficiency. It is said to be influenced by.

Therefore, a research team at the John Innes Center applied CRISPR-Cas9 , a gene editing technology, to tomatoes to prevent the expression of 7-dehydrocholesterol , an enzyme that converts vitamin D precursors into other molecules. This treatment causes the accumulation of 7-dehydrocholesterol in the pulp, skin and leaves of tomatoes at very high levels. It was also found that this treatment did not affect the growth, development and yield of tomatoes.

Exposure of this genetically modified tomato to UV light converts 7-dehydrocholesterol to vitamin D, similar to human skin. According to the research team, one fruit of this tomato contained the same amount of vitamin D as 28g of tuna.

The research team further states that not only can tomato fruits be nutritious, but vitamin D-rich leaves can be used as a source of supplements. Eggplants and potatoes also have the same biochemical pathways as tomatoes, suggesting that the research team could use similar gene editing techniques to produce more nutritious vegetables.

in Science, Posted by log1i_yk