|Keywords||CRISPR ,Tomato, Yield stability, heat stress, cold stress, early fruit set, disease resistance, breeding|
|Current development stage||General list: TRL5 Technology validated in relevant environement|
In extreme temperatures, such as heat and cold, fruit set (form of metamorphosis) is compromised due to reduced flower fertility. Genotypes with reduced sensitivity to temperature stress will increase fruit yield and yield stability under unstable environmental conditions.
We developed CRISPR-edited model (M82) tomato plants with reduced sensitivity to temperature stress during fruit set and have shown:
- Increased yield in the heat and cold
- Increased yield stability under fluctuating environmental conditions
- Earlier fruit setting and maturity by approximately one week
- Higher harvest index
- Increased disease resistance
- Equal or superior fruit quality
By using genome editing, we have generated a set of tomato genotypes that even under heat and cold stress have early fruit set, increased disease resistance and at least 50% yield increase. Figure 1 below shows fruits of representative single plants grown in controlled heat conditions from the wild type (M82) background (left picture) and two of the developed genotypes (middle and right). One can easily see that the number of fruits in the gene-edited plants (middle and right) is much higher than the wild-type plant.
Quantification of the yield under heat stress for 3 of the developed genotypes is shown below in Figure 2.
The mutated plants also showed increased resistance to several diseases, as shown in Figure 3 below.
The researchers are seeking an industry partner to continue research and to commercialize these traits by introgressing the genomics into commercial lines.