American scientists are developing a genetically modified potato with orange flesh in a bid to boost its health credentials.

The researchers at Cornell University are trying to introduce to potatoes a gene that is responsible for the orange colour of other vegetables such as carrots and even orange cauliflowers.

The colour comes from high levels of the nutrient beta-carotene, an anti-oxidant that is turned into vitamin A in the body.

The gene, which allows vegetables to store beta-carotene, was only recently isolated by Cornell scientists after they analysed the genetic mutation that produces orange cauliflowers.

They found that many staple crops produce beta-carotene, but only orange ones can store it in their flesh.

Syngenta is already

marketing a GM rice that produces high levels of beta-carotene, called Golden Rice. An orange-fleshed sweet potato is also on the market.