Science News

Gm Foods to Prevent Tooth Decay

Sun, 10th Sep 2000

Part of the show Intelligence and IQ

An apple a day keeps the dentist away, we are told, but how about a strawberry ? Researchers at the International Institute of Horticultural Research in Kent are going to add a gene to strawberries and apples that can control the growth of a bacterium that causes tooth decay, producing, they hope, a food that can prevent dental caries. The gene was discovered by a group of scientists at Guys Hospital in London and works by producing a protein that prevents the Streptococcus mutans bacteria, the microbes that cause dental decay, from binding onto teeth. Professor David James from the Internationl Institute of Horticultural Research said that modified fruit was an excellent way to deliver the protein, especially to children. (There are a few problems that they don’t mention such as - what about the acid in the fruit itself, also, the sugar in the fruit will fuel decay produce by bacteria already in-situ, and will enough of the protein get out of the fruit when it is chewed to make a difference ?
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