Navigation Links
Single gene dramatically boosts yield, sweetness in tomato hybrids, CSHL-Israeli study finds
Date:3/28/2010

Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y. Giving tomato breeders and ketchup fans something to cheer about, a Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) scientist and his colleagues at the Hebrew University in Israel have identified a gene that pushes hybrid tomato plants to spectacularly increase yield. The yield-boosting power of this gene, which controls when plants make flowers, works in different varieties of tomato, and crucially, across a range of environmental conditions.

"This discovery has potential to have a significant impact on both the billion-dollar tomato industry, as well as agricultural practices designed to get the most yield from other flowering crops," says CSHL's Zach Lippman, Ph.D., one of the three authors on the study, which appears in the journal Nature Genetics online on March 28th. The study is co-authored by Israeli scientists Uri Krieger and Professor Dani Zamir.

The team made the discovery while hunting for genes that boost hybrid vigor, a revolutionary breeding principle that spurred the production of blockbuster hybrid crops like corn and rice a century ago. Hybrid vigor, also known as heterosis, is the miraculous phenomenon by which intercrossing two varieties of plants produces more vigorous hybrid offspring with higher yields. First observed by Charles Darwin in 1876, heterosis was rediscovered by CSHL corn geneticist George Shull 30 years later, but how heterosis works has remained a mystery.

Shull's studies suggested that harmful, vigor-killing gene mutations that accumulate naturally in every generation are exposed by inbreeding, but hidden by crossbreeding. "But there is still no consensus as to what causes heterosis," says Lippman. "Another theory for heterosis, supported by our discovery, postulates that improved vigor stems from only a single gene an effect called "superdominance" or "overdominance."

To find overdominant genes, the team developed a novel approach by turning to a vast tomato "mutant library" a collection of 5,000 plants, each of which has a single mutation in a single gene that causes defects in various aspects of tomato growth, such as fruit size, leaf shape, etc. Selecting a diverse set of mutant plants, most of which produced low yield, the team crossed each mutant with its normal counterpart and searched for hybrids with improved yield.

Among several cases, the most dramatic example increased yield by 60%. This hybrid, the team found, produced greater yields because there was one normal copy and one mutated copy of a single gene that produces a protein called florigen. This protein, touted as the breakthrough discovery of the year in 2005 in Science magazine, instructs plants when to stop making leaves and start making flowers, which in turn produce fruit.

In plants such as tomatoes, flowering (and therefore yield) is controlled by a delicate balance between the florigen protein, which promotes flowering, and another related protein, that delays flowering. A mutation in only one copy of the florigen gene causes the hybrid to produce more flowers in less time the key to improved yield.

"It's the Goldilocks concept," explains Lippman. "What we find is that to maximize yield, you can't have too much or too little florigen. A mutation in one copy of the gene results in the exact dose of florigen required to cause heterosis."

The scientists have observed the gene's heterosis effect in different varieties of tomatoes and in plants grown in different climate and soil conditions, both in Israel and locally in New York at CSHL and the Cornell Horticultural Experiment Station at Riverhead, NY.

In addition to superior yield, the hybrids also display another, perhaps equally important quality taste. Tomato plants only produce a finite amount of sugar, which they distribute equally among their fruits. So higher yields usually result in each fruit having less sugar. But, remarkably, the florigen gene also boosted the sugar and sweetness of individual fruits.

The researchers are already planning to explore if genes related to florigen in other crops can cause heterosis and improve yield. The concept that a mutation in only one copy of a single gene can improve yield has broad implications for plant breeding. "Mutant plants are usually thrown away because of the notion that mutations would have negative effects on growth," says Lippman. "Our results indicate that breeding with hybrid mutations could prove to be a powerful new way to increase yields, not only in tomato, but all crops."


'/>"/>

Contact: Hema Bashyam
bashyam@cshl.edu
516-367-6822
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Behavior of single protein observed in unprecedented detail by Stanford chemists
2. New sensor array detects single molecules for the first time
3. Can a single layer of cells control a leafs size?
4. Method of the future uses single-cell imaging to identify gene interactions
5. A single atom controls motility required for bacterial infection
6. Saving the single cysteine: New antioxidant system found
7. Olympus introduces the VisiGlide, a single-use guidewire
8. Single-stranded DNA-binding protein is dynamic, critical to DNA repair
9. New nanochemistry technique encases single molecules in microdroplets
10. Single host gene may hold key to treating both ebola and anthrax infections
11. Single thawed embryo transfer after PGD does not affect pregnancy rates
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/15/2016)... ... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Global ... The report forecasts the global military biometrics market to grow at a ... has been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from ... over the coming years. The report also includes a discussion of the ...
(Date:12/12/2016)... Dec. 12, 2016  Researchers at Trinity College, ... graphene by combining the material with Silly Putty. The ... pressure detector able to sense pulse, blood pressure, ... spider.  The research team,s findings ... read here:  http://science.sciencemag.org/content/354/6317/1257 ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... 7, 2016 BioCatch , the global leader ... patent portfolio, which grew to over 40 granted and pending patents. ... , , ... entitled " System, Device, and Method Estimating Force Applied to ... makers to forego costly hardware components needed to estimate the force and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/19/2017)... , Jan. 19, 2017  ArmaGen, Inc., today ... , Ph.D., as chief executive officer, as well ... Dr. Schmidt brings to ArmaGen more than 17 years ... and development of biotherapeutics and pharmaceuticals. ... the diverse experience and skillset necessary to lead ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... ... January 18, 2017 , ... LabRoots , the leading ... the world, was today awarded the "Best Science & Technology Social Networking Service ... and decided upon by a dedicated team of researchers and analysts. , The ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... 2017 The global biotechnology services outsourcing ... by 2025, according to a new report by ... adaptive of the function of outsourcing certain clinical ... the services outsourced, clinical trial management and contract ... Johnson was the first pharmaceutical company to outsource ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... 2017 BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) (NYSE: ... will host a live webcast of its Annual Meeting of Shareholders ... The webcast can be accessed from the BD corporate website ... January 31, 2017. ... About BD BD is a global medical technology company ...
Breaking Biology Technology: