Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Maligned Potato: Respect At Last?

Ah, the poor, maligned potato! Beaten up by dieters (especially the low-carb variety), nutritionists and other experts as being "ok in moderation", the potato may at long last be gaining some respect in the scientific community.

From an article in Science Daily ("Transgenic Potato Confers Immunity: Vegetables Or Fruit Could Replace Vaccine And Needles"), we find that the potato could be used to help keep us health.

We quote from the article:

"Transgenic potatoes engineered to generate an immune response to E.coli infection have passed their first test in human beings. In the May issue of the journal Nature Medicine, Carol Tacket, MD, professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and colleagues report successful results of their first human clinical trial of the transgenic vegetablesdeveloped at the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, affiliated with Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Fed to healthy human volunteers at the University of Maryland Center for Vaccine Development, potatoes genetically engineered to contain a gene from the E.coli bacteria produced antibodies in the blood and in the mucosal lining of the intestines. Volunteers who ate garden-variety potatoes in the randomized, double-blind trial showed no immune response.

"It is truly remarkable to think that you could eat a potato that has an extra protein and produce antibodies against a bacterial pathogen," Tacket remarks, "but that is exactly what happened." She calls transgenic plants "a new strategy for development of safe and inexpensive vaccines against diseases such as tetanus, diphtheria and hepatitis B. Oral vaccines in edible plants offer hope of a more practical means of implementing universal vaccination programs for the developing world.""

The article goes on to say that the testers were all volunteers who tolerated the potatoes well with no other problems.

Could this be an answer to helping rid third world countries of certain diseases and maladies?

Who know...more research will follow but the initial reports are encouraging.

Take that, Adkins.

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