Chinese scientists work to design tomatoes suitable for mechanical harvesting

In the early 1960s, the fs8.1 mutation caused a shape change in tomato fruit from round to blocky, which greatly improved the stress tolerance of tomatoes and brought about a major change in tomato processing from traditional manual harvesting to mechanized production.

Now, in a new study, researchers led by Prof. LI Chuanyou from the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology (IGDB) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences reported the cloning, functional characterization, and breeding application of fs8.1.

They demonstrated that the fs8.1 mutation has a stronger promoting effect on cell proliferation in the ovary wall than in the columella, resulting in an elongated fruit shape. They then identified the FS8.1 gene and found that it encodes a non-canonical GT-2 factor that lacks the characteristic trihelix DNA-binding domain.

This study was funded by the National Key R&D Program of China and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.


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