For this week’s Nostalgia in the Reading Chronicle, we are going back to the first month of the century as the town’s university managed to force a breakthrough in modern medicine.

Scientists at the University of Reading in January 2000 discovered that they were able to create a plant-based paste through genetically modified technology to help those who have suffered severe burns.

Created through the proteins from potatoes and pineapples, the paste would be implemented by doctors or surgeons for when a burn victim needed a skin graft.

Instead, they would grow their own with the appropriate proteins using GM [genetically modified] techniques that were suitable for surgeons to apply when conducting the operations.

The breakthrough allowed those in the medical profession to help people who had numerous dead skin.

And even though it was in its early stages of development, it was welcomed by numerous doctors and was considered an alternative treatment for burn victims.

One of the doctors who got interviewed by the BBC on the subject at the time said: “We are taking a gene from pineapple tissue which produces a protein that is very good at reducing dead tissue and taking away dead tissue in burnt areas.

"This allows skin grafts to be performed which would speed up the healing process for the burn victim.

“Everybody that takes insulin for diabetes uses genetically modified produced insulin, as well people using growth hormones, and all doctors that work with burns have a choice of using surgical treatments or so-called bandage treatments.

“And I think they would use either based on what would do the best job.

“GM [genetically modified] technology isn’t just being used with crops, but, it can be used to help find new drugs.

“The public isn’t aware of the huge amount of science that is being used in this field and the benefits that we can reap with this development.”

Another doctor added: “It’s interesting that you can create these enzymes in GM organisms and there is a use of these enzymes who helped people that need treatment."

At the time of the report being aired, the University of Reading Science Plants Department was Europe’s leading centre for research into genetically modified crops.