GENE-EDITED tomato plants that can be grown in small areas and potentially even in outer space have been developed by scientists at the New York-based Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, according to a release.
These new “urban agriculture tomatoes” grow in compact bunches instead of on long vines and can be harvested in a shorter period of time. They can be cultivated in converted storage containers and other locations with limited space.
Zachary Lippman, a genetics professor at the lab, said in the release this research shows tomatoes and other crops can be produced in new ways without tearing up land and causing fertiliser runoff to rivers and streams.
“Here’s a complementary approach to help feed people, locally and with a reduced carbon footprint,” he said. The new tomato plants were created with the CRISPR gene-editing tool, changing two genes controlling reproductive growth and plant size.