These tomatoes are genetically edited to relax you

Consumers in Japan can purchase the new Sicilian Rouge tomato that's been genetically-edited to lower your blood pressure and promote relaxation. Maybe. The company, Sanatech Seed, used CRISPR-Cas9 technology to increase the amount of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)—a naturally-occurring neurotransmitter that's commonly sold as a dietary supplement for its purported calming effects. From Nature:

Sanatech has been careful not to claim that its tomatoes therapeutically lower blood pressure and promote relaxation. Instead, the company implies it, by advertising that consuming GABA, generally, can achieve these effects and that its tomatoes contain high levels of GABA. This has raised some eyebrows in the research community, given the paucity of evidence supporting GABA as a health supplement[…]

To support the claim that GABA promotes relaxation, Sanatech points to six studies in humans that examined the effect of orally consumed GABA on stress, mood, fatigue or sleep. But a systematic review published in 2020 that examined all six of these papers plus eight more on the topic came to a different conclusion. The authors, who hailed from Japan, Australia and the United Kingdom, summarized: "There is limited evidence for stress and very limited evidence for sleep benefits of oral GABA intake."

Sanatech's tomatoes, called the Sicilian Rouge High GABA, contain about four to five times more GABA than their conventional counterpart, [Sanatech CTO Hiroshi] Ezura says. Whether that will lower blood pressure any more than eating regular tomatoes is unclear. Sanatech has not performed this kind of intervention study, although it plans to do so, Ezura says. The company is working to complete an additional notification with the Japanese government on the health benefit claim.

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