How genetics can be good for health

July 17, 1998

A puree genius at his work

Healthier chips: potato plants can be genetically modified to make firmer potatoes. When these are fried, they absorb less fat. This results in a crisper, lower-fat chip that could be on sale in five years.

Nuts for everyone: the genes in peanuts that can make them cause an allergic reaction have been identified by scientists in the US. By altering them, peanuts could be made allergen-free. But it will take ten years for safety tests to be completed.

Anti-cancer broccoli: broccoli naturally contains an oil that helps to prevent some types of cancer. By modifying the genes that produce this oil, scientists can increase the anti-cancer effect. It could be available by 2001.

Decaffeinated coffee: Scientists have identified the gene that produces caffeine in coffee beans. They are working on modifying coffee plants to produce caffeine-free beans. These beans would not need to be processed to remove the caffeine.

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