Carrots bred to prevent tuberculosis
Scientists in Kazakhstan have bred carrots to contain an anti-tuberculosis vaccine. The scientists injected the tuberculosis germ into a root crop to create an edible vaccine.
“Interest in vaccines based on transgenic plants is very high in the world. Why? First of all, because they are cheap, which is important for developing countries where traditional vaccination programs turn out very expensive. They also lack many negative effects that accompany normal vaccinations. This plant has become a unique bioplant of medical-purpose proteins,” said Yerlan Ramankulov, director general of Kazakhstan National Biotechnologies Center.
Scientists tested the GM carrots on mice, and the research showed that the transgenic carrot increased immunity to tuberculosis.
Ramankulov said it is too early for the GM carrot to enter the pharmaceutics market since scientists still have to prove therapeutic effect. Since many countries have differing views on genetically modified foods, much more testing to prove the safety of the new carrots is needed.