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Researchers increase Lycopene content in tomato

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Developing tomato plants with enhanced lycopene levels aims to utilize the positive effects of lycopene on tomato fruits’ visual and nutritional properties. Hence, the team of Xindi Li of the China Agricultural University aimed to increase lycopene levels in tomato using CRISPR-Cas9. The team hoped to improve the accumulation of lycopene by using CRISPR-Cas9 to knockdown genes associated with the carotenoid metabolic pathway.

Five tomato genes associated with the carotenoid metabolic pathway were targeted. The CRISPR-Cas9 was successful in inducing simultaneous targeted mutations in multiple genes of interest. The fruits from the resulting tomato lines expressed a 5.1-fold increase in lycopene content. The mutations were also found to be stably transmitted to succeeding generations.

These results suggest that CRISPR-Cas9 can be used for improving the lycopene content in tomatoes.

For more information, read the article in Frontiers in Plant Science.

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