GMO Purple Tomato with Snapdragon DNA Available to Home Gardeners

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Close-up of snapdragon bud and blossom.
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The Purple Tomato is the first GMO food crop marketed directly to home gardeners. Until now, all GMO food crops had been marketed to and grown by commercial producers.

Norfolk Plant Sciences added snapdragon flower DNA to tomatoes, which not only produces the dark purple color, but also adds high levels of anthocyanin. Anthocyanins, found in red and purple fruits and vegetables like blackberries and eggplants, are thought to lower blood pressure, reduce risk of heart disease, prevent neurological diseases, and slow cancer growth. 

Sometimes called “biofortified,” foods like the Purple Tomato have been credited with saving the papaya industry in Hawaii from a virus outbreak and fighting vitamin A deficiencies (golden rice). 

“Supercharged” tomatoes have also been grown by traditional farmers, who have created Indigo Rose, Indigo Cherry Drops, Indigo Pear Drops Indigo Kiwi, and Midnight Roma tomatoes with the same principles, just less lab work.

1. Would you grow GMO foods in your garden? Why or why not?

2. Does it matter if a GMO food is created in a lab or by a farmer? Explain your answer.

3. If you were to create a GMO food, what would you combine? Explain your reasoning.

Cleveland Clinic, “5 Health Benefits of Anthocyanins,”, June 1, 2022

Sáša Woodruff, “Gardeners Can Now Grow a Genetically Modified Purple Tomato Made with Snapdragon DNA,”, Feb. 6, 2024