Saturday, July 25, 2009

Drop a gene for sweeter tomatoes

Scientists have identified a gene in tomatoes that can be ‘knocked-out’ to create sweeter fruit and long-lasting leaves. The gene INVINHI plays a major role in limiting the amount of sugar of the plant and if prevented from expressing itself, more sugar could be delivered to specific parts of the plants including seeds and fruits. When applied to other fruits and vegetables, the technology could increase crop seed yield, fruit quality, and lengthen self life, according to Newcastle release. Director of the University of Newcastle-based Australia-China Research Centre for Crop Improvement Yong-Ling Ruan said the discovery resulted from a need to consider the long-term security of food supply. “With predictions that the global population may double over the next 50 years, scientists are concerned about the pressure on the world’s natural resources,” Ruan said. “Faced with the impact of climate change and population, our research is helping to meet the challenge of how to sustain and improve crop yield and quality.”

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