Scientists want to use gene-editing to make tomatoes spicy, because spice has a bunch of health benefits.
What it means: Ever been munching your way through a margherita and thought that the whole experience would be much more pleasant if your mouth felt like it was on fire? You may be in luck: if some Brazilian scientists get their way, spicy tomatoes are about to hit a grocery shelf near you.
The reason? Spicy stuff is supposedly really good for you. It is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, helps overweight people lose weight, and wards off tumours. Worth a little bit of mouth-burn, huh?
Course, some people dislike GM (genetically modified) food because it’s not natural or because there’s not been enough research on its long-term effects. They might ask why we can’t all just keep eating chillies if spice is so good for us. The answer is that it’s actually pretty difficult to grow them on a large scale. They’re fussy plants that are super sensitive to all the environmental conditions around them, meaning farmers need to put a lot of time and effort into growing them.
Tomatoes, in contrast, are super chill. So it’s cheaper for farmers to make lots of them (hence more potential profit) which in turn makes it cheaper for people to buy ‘em (hence more people getting the health benefits).
Read our explainer on food.