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Genetically Modified Tomatoes to Come in a Rainbow of Colors and Flavors

The Purple Tomato is the first a series of tomatoes to be grown in a variety of colors and flavors. Using genes from a snapdragon flower for color, flipping some DNA “switches” in the tomato plant, and a bacterium as the delivery driver for the DNA, biochemists at Norfolk Plant Sciences created a purple tomato that can add years to your life, if you like the combination of purple foods, tomatoes, and anthocyanins. The seeds for purple tomatoes are available to home gardeners. The company also announced early work on more tomato varieties too. A blue-colored and blueberry-flavored tomato is planned for release this year. There is also a peached-colored but cinnamon-flavored tomato for Fall. Funding research in genetically modified tomatoes is expensive, so Norfolk Plant Sciences has partnered with other companies to develop and release unconventional tomatoes. A 7-Eleven Slurpee-inspired tomato called MTN DEW Pitch Black features a black color and flavor of Mountain Dew and Dark Citrus Punch. This tomato will also be main ingredient in a “healthier” version of a Slurpee sold at 7-Elevens world-wide and will be released in a joint promotion for the “Bad Boys 4” movie in June. Working with Starbucks, Norfolk developed a dark brown tomato that tastes like a Starbucks Medium Roast Pike Place coffee with Oleato Golden Foam and a mocha drizzle. They are also working on a tomato with white skin and red flecks that tastes like Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino. Unfortunately, it tastes more like a Dunkin' Iced Coffee with Skim Milk and a Pink Velvet Swirl, leading to customer confusion and likely legal action. Norfolk claims that the taste issue will be corrected soon, and the tomato will be ready for the winter holiday season.