140807094855_140807_6min_purple_tomatoes


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BBC Learning English

6 Minute English


7 August 2014

Purple tomatoes




NB: This is not a word
-
for
-
word transcript




6 Minute English

Briti
sh Broadcasting Corporation 2014


Page
1

of
4

bbc
learningenglish
.com


Rob
:

Hello

I’m
Rob
. W
elcome to 6 Minute English
.
With me today is Finn
. H
ello

Finn
.


Finn
:

H
ello

Rob
.



Rob
:

Now
Finn, I'd like to
start by
ask
ing

you a question. Would you eat a purple
coloured tomato?


Finn
:

Purple?
Well, t
hat depends. Is it a naturally coloured tomato
? Where does it
come from? Is this an
artificial

tomato?
Rob, tell me more.


Rob:

Artificial


yes,
you mean is it man
-
made and
i
s natural? Well,
in a way
-

yes.
Because s
cientists have developed a
genetically modified

purple tomato
;

t
hey
took

red tomato
plants and
changed their genetic patterns so that they now produce new, purple
tomatoes.


Finn:

Yes, s
o this
would be

an

example of

GM



genetically modified



food. It's
something we
'll be discussing more soon and
, of course,
looking at some
related vocabula
ry.


Rob
:

But here's another question for you Finn that hasn't been modified


or
changed


in any way!
GM food has
been
researched and experimented with
for many years but do you know when the first genetically modified food was
first sold commercially? W
as it in
:



a)

1974

b)

1984

c)

1994


Finn
:

We
ll, we

think of GM food as a recent thing so
I'll

say the opposite,
a)
1974.


Rob
:

OK, w
e’ll find out if you
'
re right later

on
.
Let's talk more now about
genetically modified food


or GM food. It's called this because the food's
ge
nes

have been changed. This means the way it grows is different
from the
way
it grows when it isn’t

touched by humans.



Finn:

Yes, so, g
rowing GM food


or crops


is controversial. Some scientists think
it's needed

to meet the world's growing demand for food.


Rob:

Yes, GM food can
resist



or stop the effects of


some
pests

or

bad
weather. It can grow more quickly
,

meaning
even
more crops can be
cultivated


or
grown.




6 Minute English

Briti
sh Broadcasting Corporation 20
14


Page
2

of
4

bbclearningenglish.com


Finn
:

But opponents of GM food


people who argue against it


say
we don't know
enough about
it
s effect on the environment.




Rob
:

And
then
there are
the
fears about who control
s what
'
s grown.




Finn:

Yes, but

despite this, GM food has become an important part of food
production. Crops like sweetcorn,
rape plants, wheat and tomatoes have

all
been genetically

modified.


Rob
:

Yes, l
ike the purple tomato, which w
as
recently
developed in the UK. It has a
dark
pigment



or colour


which gives it the same potential
health benefits
as blueberries.


Finn:

Well
,

that sounds like

a good thing. And not only that
, it has an

antioxidant



that
's a substance that stops the decaying process



which test
s show
could help fight cancer.


Rob:

One day we could see
these purple tomatoes

on pizzas or in our tomato
ketchup. Let's hear from Professor Cathie Martin who is a plant biolo
gist from
The John Innes Centre who developed this tomato. What does she s
ay is
good about
this new food?


Professor

Cathie Martin, Plant Biologist, John Innes Centre
:

W
ith these purple tomatoes, you can get the same compounds that are present in
blueber
ries and cranberr
ies that give them their health

benefits but you can apply them
to foods that people actually eat in significant amounts and that are reasonably
affordable.


Rob
:

So
she says the good thing about this development is we can get
h
ealth
bene
eat
significant
amounts of


so lots of


and
they will be reasonably
affordable



so it

will be cheap.


Finn
:

Yes

but there's still

maybe

a problem with the colour. We are affected by the
colour of stuff we put in our mouths.
I mean, who

eats blue food?!


Rob:

That's t
rue. And also because the European Union has restrictions
on

growing
GM food, this tomato has to be grown in Canada where rules are more
supportive of GM foods.


Finn:

OK.
Well, Professor Nick Pidgeon
,

who is an Environmental
Psycholo
gist,

says
in the UK there is some
distrust

of GM food.


Rob
:

He says

some people are concerned all this is messing with nature


it's not
natural


and
maybe we don't know what the
long
-
term
consequences are.


Finn
:

And a big concern is that large corpo
rations will have control over the
technology. And this could mea
n they control food prices too.
You know Rob,
I think t
his i
s a debate that

will go on and on

and on
.


Rob:

Indeed.
But it's
now
time
to reveal the answer to today's question. Earlier I
asked you if you knew when the first gene
tically modified food was first sold
commercially.




6 Minute English

Briti
sh Broadcasting Corporation 20
14


Page
3

of
4

bbclearningenglish.com


Finn:

I
said a)

1974
.


Rob:

Interesting.
The answer is
actually
1994
.
A company called
Calgene

sold a
product that delayed the
ripening

of tomatoes.


Finn:

OK, well,
I guess that means the fruit could last longer and
it would
stop it
going soft?


Rob:

That was the idea.
Now, before we go,
Finn
, could you

remind us of some of
the vocabu
lary that we've heard today?


Finn:

Yes, I will
.


artificial

genetically modified

genes

resist

pests

cultivated

pigment

antioxidant

significant

affordable

distrust

ripening


Rob:


Well
,

that brings us to the end of today's 6 Minute English.
We hope you’ve
enjoyed today’s programme.
Please join us
again
soon.


Both:

Bye.




6 Minute English

Briti
sh Broadcasting Corporation 20
14


Page
4

of
4

bbclearningenglish.com


Vocabulary and definitions


artificial

made by people, copying something made in nature

genetically modified

having its genetic structure changed for a particular
p
urpose (sometime shortened to GM
)

genes

parts of the DNA

in a cell that control

the physical
development or characteristics of an individual plant or
animal

resist

fight again
st

pests

insects or small animals that damage crops

cultivated

developed
to be
grown on farms

pigment

natural substance that gives colour

antioxidant

a natural chemical that slows down
the
decay
ing
process

significant

important or noticeable

affor
dable

not expensive

distrust

not trusting or believing someone or something

ripening

becoming fully grown or ready for eating



Read and listen to the story online

140807_6min_purple_tomatoes
/
8
0
/
ngenglish/general/sixminute/2014
http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learni


Related story
:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science
-
environment
-
25885756




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