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SCIENTISTS TO MAKE CHILLI TOMATOES

Written by on January 8, 2019

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SCIENTISTS TO MAKE CHILLI TOMATOES

Scientists are debating whether or not to activate dormant genes in the tomato fruit in order to make them spicy.

They say this will give them easier and cheaper access to the chemical that creates the chilli’s characteristic fire, which has antibiotic and other beneficial properties.

Chillies and tomatoes are distantly related and scientists argue that they will be able to use the latest gene-editing techniques to create a hybrid.

Tomatoes split from their common evolutionary ancestor approximately 19 million years ago.

The tomato became juicy and sweet while the chilli developed a spicy defence mechanism via chemicals called capsaicinoids.

This gives the chilli its scorching taste and scientists believe they will be able to activate hidden genes to reawaken this lost pathway in the tomato.


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