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Crop Biotech Update

Using Genetics to Build a Better Tomato

February 18, 2011

In attempts to improve the shelf life of tomatoes and to improve its nutritional content, scientists Autar Mattoo, a plant physiologist at USDA-ARS Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland collaborated with Avtar Handa's group at Purdue University. Spermidine synthase, a polyamine-producing yeast gene was introduced into tomato which resulted to an increase in the production of polyamine spermidine that modulates the tomato ripening process.

Results published in the Plant Journal also showed that there was delayed post harvest shelf life, slower rate of decay caused by diseases, and higher levels of lycopene in the transgenic tomatoes.

The news article can be viewed at http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/services/Introduction/February%202011%20AR%20Magazine.html