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Trends Plant Sci. 2009 May;14(5):237-41. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2009.02.001. Epub 2009 Apr 8.

Purple as a tomato: towards high anthocyanin tomatoes.

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Plant Lab, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Piazza Martiri della Libertà 33, 56127 Pisa, Italy.


Anthocyanins are naturally occurring pigments ubiquitously present in plants and, as such, part of the human diet. Owing to their biological activity, anthocyanins have beneficial health effects but, unfortunately, are not present in some important crop plants, such as tomatoes. Recently, a 'purple' tomato, highly enriched with anthocyanins, was produced by the ectopic expression of two selected transcription factors from the ornamental flower snapdragon. In addition to being enriched with anthocyanin, these fruits also prolonged the life of cancer-susceptible mice, suggesting that they have additional health-promoting effects.

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