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Bumper crop of purple tomatoes harvested

The John Innes Centre in Norwich. Credit: ITV News Anglia.

Genetically-modified purple tomatoes developed by Norwich scientists are one step closer to going on sale in our supermarkets as a bumper crop is harvested in Canada.

The colour comes from higher-than-normal levels of anthocyanins.

They are compounds usually found in blueberries and blackberries and have been shown to guard against cancer and heart disease.

The first tomato crop has been grown in a 5,000 sq ft glasshouse in Ontario and will yield enough of the fruit to produce 2,000 litres of purple juice.

Experts at the John Innes Centre will use it to carry out further research and start the process of getting the approval needed to bring a commercial juice to market.

“We want to explore a way for consumers to benefit from our discoveries, as we are finding there is a demand for the added health benefits,” said JIC’s Professor Cathie Martin.

Minister reignites GM Food debate

The East is known as the breadbasket of Britain - producing more than a quarter of England's cereal crops. But now we could be the battleground in the war over GM crops.

The government has insisted we should be growing our own GM foods. It says the evidence shows they are safe and also beneficial. Claire McGlasson reports.

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Minister tours GM crop trial site

On his visit to Rothamsted Research in Hertfordshire Mr Paterson visited the field where the active GM crop trial is taking place.

The field, which is surrounded by a high fence, has security guarding it 24 hours a day and signs warn of guard dogs.

Everyone going through the gate next to the field had to sign a book as part of the tight security process - even Mr Paterson.

Before taking the trip out to see the crop trial, Mr Paterson toured the laboratories and had a go at using a particle gun, which is used in the GM process

Minister: UK could have leading role in feeding the world

Owen Paterson making the announcement today Credit: PA

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said the UK could have a "leading role in feeding the world".

Mr Paterson made the announcement at Rothamsted Research in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, today.

He said the Government will help companies and research providers to overcome any barriers they may face in the UK - ensuring that it is the "best place" for them to carry out their work.

"The farmer benefits. The consumer benefits. The environment benefits," he said

John Innes Centre in Norwich and Rothamstead are both leaders in the this area of scientific research.

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£6m backing for GM crop trials

Scientists based in Norwich have won a £6.4 million grant to develop GM crops that need little or no fertiliser.

It is hoped the work at the John Innes Centre in Norwich will benefit struggling maize farmers in sub-Saharan Africa who cannot afford to treat their crops.

Plant scientists at the independent unit are trying to engineer corn, rice and maize crops capable of taking nitrogen from the air - as peas and beans do - rather than needing chemical ammonia spread on fields.