Biotech Updates

Link Discovered Between Tomato Ripening, Color and Taste

July 6, 2012

Researchers at Cornell University, Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research and University of California-Davis have identified a gene that controls tomato ripening. The paper, published in the June 29 issue of Science revealed that the genetic mutation that makes tomato ripen uniformly also controls the amount of sugar produced and stored in the fruit.

Tomato fruit has the capacity to synthesize during its development, but uniform ripening mutation removed this genetic capacity, thereby reducing sugar levels. Cuong Nguyen, one of the co-authors of the paper conducted a molecular biology procedure called positional cloning and with a public database, determined that the uniform ripening gene was located at chromosome 10. The team plans to decipher the gene coding for the protein that controls photosynthesis levels in tomatoes and the genetic lesion resulting in the mutation.

In the future, commercial producers would have the option to produce the mutated evenly-ripened tomato or the regular tomato (unmutated), which is better-tasting and sweet, through DNA testing of the tomato seedlings.

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