GM tomatoes as an alternative for Parkinson's patients
Scientists at the UK-based John Innes Centre have produced a genetically modified tomato enriched with the Parkinson's disease drug L-DOPA.
L-DOPA is used to treat Parkinson’s by compensating for dopamine, which is depleted in patients with the disease. The drug is made from tyrosine, an amino acid found in many foods. While it's most commonly produced chemically, this version can cause unpleasant side effects.
Natural sources exist as well, but only a few plants contain measurable quantities, primarily in their seeds. These likewise can have negative effects on Parkinson’s patients due to other characteristics of the plant. The velvet bean, for example, is the most studied source, containing up to 10% L-DOPA in its seeds. However, the bean itself causes elevated levels of tryptamines which can cause hallucinations.
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