© Daria Chrobok, DC SciArt

Crop: Wild tomato (Solanum pimpinellifolium)
Property: Improved growth form, more flowers, larger fruits, modified ingredients

Solanum pimpinellifolium is an ancestor of the tomato with typical characteristics of a wild plant, such as pea-sized fruits. In a collaborative project, scientists from different countries have succeeded in simultaneously editing several genes of a tomato variety, and thus improve characteristics such as growth, yield, the number of fruits and fruit size. Four of these genes were successfully mutated and the researchers were able to observe the desired effects after only one plant generation: improved growth, more flowers and larger fruits. This resulted in a wild plant now resembling a typical cultivated plant. At the same time, another mutation gave the fruits an increased content of the health-promoting natural dye lycopene. This approach could become interesting in the future, since regaining many lost properties such as better resistance or a higher nutrient content with conventional breeding techniques can only be achieved through complex, decades-long cross-breeding with the wild plant.


TitleDe novo domestication of wild tomato using genome editing
AuthorsAgustin Zsögön et al.
JournalNature Biotechnology