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Television Media Science

Simpsons Fan Creates Real Tomacco Plant 733

An anonymous reader writes "So, according to a KPTV newscast, a Simpsons fan with too much time on his hands grafted a tobacco plant and a tomato plant and, ta-da: tomacco! Leaves and most likely the fruit (yes, tomato is a fruit technically) contain nicotine. Delicious AND deadly!" has a small news piece on the breakthrough, but in a Frink-like move, although scientists have found "nicotine in the leaves", it turns out "the lab hasn't tested if the actual tomato has nicotine in it yet, but they say it probably does."
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Simpsons Fan Creates Real Tomacco Plant

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  • McDonald's (Score:5, Funny)

    by dolo666 ( 195584 ) * on Monday November 03, 2003 @07:10PM (#7382109) Journal
    From the article []: "The plant grew off the tobacco roots and sucked up the nicotine, just like Tomacco on The Simpsons.

    What do you bet that McDonald's will start using these tomatoes to make us all addicted to their salads and burgers? :P
    • Re:McDonald's (Score:3, Insightful)

      by beatbox32 ( 325106 )
      What do you bet that McDonald's will start using these tomatoes to make us all addicted to their salads and burgers? :P

      Yeah, no kidding! And then I can sue them when I get really fat and my health turns to sh... oh wait, I can do that now.
    • by NotAnotherReboot ( 262125 ) on Monday November 03, 2003 @07:27PM (#7382308)
      "Daddy, this burger tastes like grandma!"
    • Re:McDonald's (Score:3, Interesting)

      by casio282 ( 468834 )
      What makes you think they don't already? Not tobacco, per se, but some other organic addictive substance?

      • Re:McDonald's (Score:3, Interesting)

        by The_dev0 ( 520916 )
        I have a workmate who was the Manager at a McDonalds franchise in Brisbane, Australia, and he says he has seen documentation showing how the bread rolls used for the burgers are jacked up with sugar because of past research that shows foods with a high sugar content can increase cravings. He reckons an unadorned hamburger bun contains as much sugar as an iced donut of comparable size. It wouldn't surprise me at all if McDonalds used underhanded ways to keep people eating their garbage.
    • Re:McDonald's (Score:5, Insightful)

      by antis0c ( 133550 ) on Monday November 03, 2003 @08:40PM (#7382952)
      Now really, would it be that -bad- if most of America were addicted to salads? :)
  • obligatory (Score:3, Funny)

    by wankledot ( 712148 ) on Monday November 03, 2003 @07:11PM (#7382117)
    "This tates like grandma!" Love that episode.
  • by MyDixieWrecked ( 548719 ) * on Monday November 03, 2003 @07:12PM (#7382122) Homepage Journal
    I mean, just look at Skittlebrau!! []
  • Retraction (Score:3, Informative)

    by Godeke ( 32895 ) * on Monday November 03, 2003 @07:12PM (#7382127)
    I do find it interesting that the linked site has a retraction of the "Fox News is going to sue us" story. Perhaps a slashback is in order?
  • What the hell... (Score:3, Informative)

    by madmarcel ( 610409 ) on Monday November 03, 2003 @07:13PM (#7382134)
    Did I miss something?

    Is it the 1st of April?

    Surely you are pulling my leg yes?

    Splicing/grafting plants together is not that hard, but I thought this could only be done with plants of the same
  • Hmm.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by dduardo ( 592868 ) on Monday November 03, 2003 @07:13PM (#7382138)
    I wonder where they got the plutonium to grow the crop?
  • by buddhaunderthetree ( 318870 ) on Monday November 03, 2003 @07:13PM (#7382139)
    If Phillip Morris starts selling tomatos, I'm not buying.
  • Soon, a Tomacco V8 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ( 142825 ) on Monday November 03, 2003 @07:15PM (#7382164) Homepage
    It will be low calorie, high in vitamins and addictive. At least you get something for your nicotine poisoning.
  • by wackybrit ( 321117 ) on Monday November 03, 2003 @07:16PM (#7382168) Homepage Journal
    Everyone seems to set about making the impossible things in TV shows become a reality. Perhaps we need to start a TV show where geeks get laid by hot chicks all the time?
  • by qewl ( 671495 ) on Monday November 03, 2003 @07:16PM (#7382170)
    Start them early with Tomacco's! They'll start craving vegetables.. then just give them regular tomatoes. They'll have already made the connection that tomatoes make you feel better!

    Also seems like a good way to try to quit smoking?
  • by thorrbjorn ( 321412 ) on Monday November 03, 2003 @07:17PM (#7382180)
    yes, tomato is a fruit technically

    Yes, botanically the tomato is a fruit. However, legally, according to the Supreme Court of the United States, tomatos are vegetables [].
  • by cmason32 ( 636063 ) on Monday November 03, 2003 @07:18PM (#7382188)
    Wherein The Simpsons serves as prior art.
  • by divide overflow ( 599608 ) on Monday November 03, 2003 @07:19PM (#7382193)

    They're simply addictive! We hope to have a full line of Tomacco snack food products on the shelves as soon as we can get the pro-forma FDA approval.

    -- R.J. Reynolds
  • Now! (Score:5, Funny)

    by blackmonday ( 607916 ) on Monday November 03, 2003 @07:19PM (#7382204) Homepage
    Let's get this guy working on the raining donuts!

  • by HermanZA ( 633358 ) on Monday November 03, 2003 @07:20PM (#7382210)
    I can see the crowds at the movie theaters...
  • Hey, at least now people can poison themselves eating devil fruit instead of smoking and getting lung cancer... this has gotta be highly marketable to those wanting to kick the habit.. easier to kick eating the tomato than smoking a cigarette... and probably hella cheaper too.
  • I'm still waiting for the "tobaccy and clam ice cream" for chain smoking otters.
  • Nicotine not so bad (Score:3, Interesting)

    by marko123 ( 131635 ) on Monday November 03, 2003 @07:21PM (#7382225) Homepage
    Setting fire to tobacco leaves and breathing in the smoke gave Nicotine, an innocent bystander (in moderation), with potential for improving the brain's concentration levels, a bad name.

    Bad company corrupts good character. And in the case of Nicotine, bad cigarette companies.

    • Is Nicotine any better at these things than the far less addictive caffiene?
    • by DynaSoar ( 714234 ) on Monday November 03, 2003 @07:55PM (#7382556) Journal
      marko123 sez: "Setting fire to tobacco leaves and breathing in the smoke gave Nicotine, an innocent bystander (in moderation), with potential for improving the brain's concentration levels, a bad name."

      A bad name is right.

      When the Taino people discovered and rescued that lost Italian guy, Columbus, he saw that they took these dried leaves, rolled them up into a tube, lit them on fire, and breathed in the smoke through their nose. When he asked them what they called that, they replied "tobago".

      Tobago is Taino for "tube". It started with a misunderstanding, and that continues to this day.

      The original residents of North America have always considered tobacco to be a medicinal plant, to the point of being considered sacred. Science is now finding that nicotine is beneficial to several disorders. Furthermore, there's something in tobacco (other than nicotine) that prevents Parkinson's in two-thirds to three-quarters of people who use it. And yes, that's adjusted for mortality/comorbidity.

      As with anything, it's a matter of using it appropriately, or bad things happen.
      • Are you posting in the right place? Your comment was full of information and completely lacking in radical bias.

        Thank you. I think I learnt something today.

  • If The Simpsons has taught us anything, and it hasn't, it's that Tomacco plants aren't a good idea.
  • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Monday November 03, 2003 @07:25PM (#7382287)
    the tomato and tobacco are both variaties of nightshade, as is the potato.

    All of these plants already contain nicotine, so of course he found them, and various other alkaloids. The only question is the concentration and where that concentration is.

    You'll also find nicotine in things you might not expect, like bananas, beef, cow's milk and cottage cheese.

    Eat a tomato leaf, potato leaf, or even the wrong parts of a potato and you can end up, very, very dead.

    Enjoy your fries and ketchup.

    • by iggymanz ( 596061 ) on Monday November 03, 2003 @07:40PM (#7382446)
      I've seen that in health-nut sites & rags, but as biologists classify things, there is a very large family Solanaceae, which has genus Nicotiana (including those bad Nicotiana Tabacum species), and genus Solanum, which includes over 1400 species including the beloved spud & tomatoes. So really not too closely related.....I suspect many health nuts were dropping too much LSD in the 60's instead of paying attention in biology class.
  • Mmmmm.... (Score:2, Funny)

    by badfrog ( 45310 )
    I've never wanted to go out for a veggie break so bad before.
  • by jratcliffe ( 208809 ) on Monday November 03, 2003 @07:26PM (#7382291)
    Bizarrely enough, there's actually a US Supreme Court Decision on this (Nix v. Hedden, 149 U.S. 304 (1893)). There was a tariff on fruits, but not veggies, imported from the West Indies. Plaintiff claimed that, since tomatoes are fruits, his imported tomatoes should be exempt from the tariff. The Supremes begged to differ:

    "Botanically speaking, tomatoes are the fruit of a vine, just as are cucumbers, squashes, beans and peas. But in the common language of the people ... all these are vegetables, which are grown in kitchen gardens, and which, whether eaten cooked or raw, are, like potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, beets, cauliflower, cabbage, celery and lettuce, usually served at dinner in, with or after the soup, fish or meats which constitute the principal part of the repast, and not, like fruits generally, as dessert.

    "The attempt to class tomatoes with fruit is not unlike a recent attempt to class beans as seeds, of which Mr. Justice Bradley, speaking for this court, said: 'We do not see why they should be classified as seeds, any more than walnuts should be so classified. Both are seeds in the language of botany or natural history, but not in commerce nor in common parlance.'"

    Hence, tomatoes are legally vegetables in the US, botany be damned.
  • by FerretFrottage ( 714136 ) on Monday November 03, 2003 @07:26PM (#7382293)
    Would ketchup packets replace nicotine patches?
  • by OECD ( 639690 ) on Monday November 03, 2003 @07:27PM (#7382302) Journal

    An open plea to the Simpsons writers:

    Please, more episodes about cold fusion.

    Thank you.

  • by JFMulder ( 59706 ) on Monday November 03, 2003 @07:33PM (#7382367)
    ... but with marijuana plants. Tomajuana anyone?
    • by enosys ( 705759 ) on Monday November 03, 2003 @07:50PM (#7382524) Homepage
      This worked with tobacco because the nicotine is created in the roots and then transported to the rest of the plant. It wouldn't work with marijuana because the THC is produced in resin glands right where it's found (rather than transported there). The roots have no resin glands and practically no THC. (Read this [])

      In order to do something like this with marijuana you'd have to resort to genetic engineering.

  • by G4from128k ( 686170 ) on Monday November 03, 2003 @07:38PM (#7382413)
    Its common knowledge that tomatos can be grafted on to a wide range of plants in the Solanum family including potatoes, tobacco, Datura, etc. In fact the Russians made a tomacco back in 1956 (See Glavinic, R., 1956 (Vegetative hybridization between tomato and tobacco). Priroda (Nature), Leningrad No. 11: 98-100. (Russian)).

    Now if we only had only had slashdot back in 1956.....
  • by dheltzel ( 558802 ) on Monday November 03, 2003 @07:50PM (#7382518)
    Tomato fruits are actually berries. Ironically, raspberries are not really berries, but are "aggregates of drupelets" (a good example of a drupe is a plum, a single seed surrounded by fleshy material). Strawberries aren't true berries either, because their seeds are on the outside of the fruit.

    In general, if what you eat has seeds (or is supposed to have seeds, like bananas and certain grapes), they you are eating fruit. We eat corn and bean fruit by strict botanical definitions. "True" vegetables are when we eat the leaves, roots, stems, or flowers.

    We (mankind) have done so much genetic manipulation with our crops (for milleniums, not just from Monsanto) that most would never be able to survive without our continued cultivation.

    Whether we domsticated them, or they domesticated us, is debatable. From their perspective, it looks like they have enslaved the human race to do their bidding (spread their genes around the would and into the future).

  • by greygent ( 523713 ) on Monday November 03, 2003 @07:56PM (#7382576) Homepage
    Worst... plant... ever.
  • Yum! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Garg ( 35772 ) on Monday November 03, 2003 @08:13PM (#7382731) Homepage
    Goes great with a nicotini []!

  • by EverDense ( 575518 ) on Monday November 03, 2003 @08:26PM (#7382842) Homepage
    Maybe we'll start seeing actors eating a LOT of tomatoes in TV and movies.
  • by $0.02 ( 618911 ) on Monday November 03, 2003 @08:42PM (#7382962)
    I say tobato
  • I can't believe no one mentioned this already (I searched the comments page.)

    In a graft, which is what has been done here, you stick the stem of one plant (tomato in this case) onto the root of another (tobacco in this case). If the two plants are closely related (as are tomatoes and tobacco,) the hybrid plant will grow and survive; often, chemicals (nicotine in this case) will move in the sap from the roots to the leaves (and presumably fruit.)

    This is NOT a genetic change. If you took these "tomacco" seeds and planted them, they'd grow into regular tomatoes. Making the genetic changes required for tomatoes to actually make their own nicotine [] (which would breed true,) is an entirely different and more complicated prospect.
  • A few points (Score:4, Informative)

    by Nicolas MONNET ( 4727 ) <nicoaltiva AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @02:24AM (#7384508) Journal
    • Nicotine, when not smoked, is not /that/ bad. Cigarettes are highly addictive because of it, but most of its deadly effects (cancer, mainly) are not due to it, rather to combustion byproducts.
    • Nicotine is very addictive in cigarettes, slightly less so in cigars and pipe, and less so when chewed, because its addictivity varies depending on how much time it takes for it to reach the brain. That's about 7s IIRC with cigarettes. Uptake much slower through other ways.
    • It's been experimented succesfully as a replacement for Ritalin / amphetamines in treating ADHD in the form of patch in children.
    • Nicotine is destroyed in the stomach. That's why nicotine replacements for quitting smokeing have to go through other means: skin (patches) or mouth tissue (gum and sublingual pills).
  • by 4of12 ( 97621 ) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @09:32AM (#7385598) Homepage Journal

    The bed scene, after the lovin' is done...

    "Marinara sauce?"

  • by blanks ( 108019 ) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @10:24AM (#7385924) Homepage Journal
    Next we need
    popplers, Slurm, and solent cola.

Never let someone who says it cannot be done interrupt the person who is doing it.