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Crop Biotech Update

Researchers Use CRISPR-Cas9 to Target Ripening Genes in Tomato

November 28, 2018

Tomato is a nutritious and economically important crop that depends on shelf life as a marketable quality. The shelf life of tomato is affected by softening, which is important in ripening, flavor development, fruit storage, and transportability of the crop. Softening is dictated by changes in cuticle and cell wall characteristics. To investigate the molecular basis of this trait in tomato, researcher Duoduo Wang from University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom and colleagues used CRISPR-Cas9 to edit genes PL, PG2a, and TBG4, which are all related to fruit ripening in tomato.

Results showed that plants that have mutation in the PL gene have firmer characteristic, whereas plants that have mutation in PG2a and TBG4 have modified fruit color and weight. The researchers also found that these three genes are acting on different locations in the cell walls. The study further clarifies the roles of these genes in tomato ripening and may serve as basis for future modification of tomato towards longer shelf life.

For more information, read the article in Plant Physiology.