Two weeks ago, some #Chinese researchers announced in the review "Molecular Plants" they've mapped the genome of more than 20 sylvatic species of Camellia Sinensis, the plant of the tea. The results of their study could open the door to the creation of others typologies of the beverage.

In 2006, it was already announced, by Mrs Amita Bhattacharya and others colleagues of the Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology, that there were experiments on the tea, creating a transgenic variety of it, tastier and more beneficial than others. So, a traditional drink, known for being highly natural, could become in some way artificial.

Advertisements
Advertisements

The spread of the tea

The business opened by new typologies of tea could be gainful, above all because of the spread of the tea in the last years. Imported in Europe since the XVI siècle, it thrived in England, where it was drunk as a beneficial substance. From there, it was exported also in North America.

Farmed also in India and Sri Lanka, after China and East countries, nowadays the culture of the tea is more and more extended. Also in Europe, there are some festivals entirely dedicated. The last one happened in April, in Italy: at the "In Te" in Bologna, over 5 thousand visitors tasted over 300 typologies of tea, looking forward the 2018 edition.

The Pusztai affair

Yet, a question rise with transgenic variety: is it really beneficial?

In the United Kingdom, the 1998-experiment led by the well-known and expert scientist Arpad Pusztai of the Rowett Institute (Scotland) left some doubts on it.

Advertisements

The transgenic variety of potatoes eaten by rats apparently was dangerous, creating cancer in the animals.

But the results of the experiment were discussed for lack of method by the Royal Society Peer Review, which entered the fray between the scientist and the supporters of the modified food. Someone supposed the results were obstructed by some companies which had interests in OGMs.

Transgenic salmon

Even so, nowadays the concerns seem to be exceeded. Beyond the transgenic crops, in fact, in 2015 also a transgenic variety of salmon was approved for commercial production and sale by US Food and drug administration, making it the first modified animal to be accepted for human consumption.

Also, there are other problems with transgenic operations, especially "transhumanism" (so called the genetic modifications of animals with human genes). The real question is not if the OGMs are a benefit or not, but if we want to intervene in the natural development of the species. Particularly in the case of the plants of tea, that have its taste because of a millennial (natural) evolution.