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For tomato genes, one plus one doesn’t always make two

Both people and tomatoes come in different shapes and sizes. That is because every individual has a unique set of genetic variations—mutations—that affect how genes act and function. Added together, millions of small genetic variations make it hard to predict how a particular mutation will impact any individual. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) Professor and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator Zach Lippman showed how genetic variations in tomatoes can influence the way a specific mutation affects the plant. He is working toward being able to predict the effects of mutations on different tomato varieties.

Different combinations of mutations can affect the size of tomatoes unpredictably. In this image, the first column shows an unmutated (WT) tomato. The second and third columns show tomatoes with a single mutation in a region of the promoter (R1 or R4) for fruit size gene SlCV3. The individual mutations have little effect on fruit size. But the combination of these two mutations (R1 + R4) yields a much bigger fruit.

In this study, Lippman and his team used CRISPR, a highly accurate and targeted gene-editing tool, on two tomato genes that control fruit size, SlCV3 and SlWUS. They generated over 60 tomato mutants by removing little pieces of DNA in the promoter regions, areas near the genes that control their expression. In some cases, individual mutations increased the size of the tomatoes by a little bit. Some pairs of mutations did not change fruit size at all. A few synergistic combinations caused a dramatic, unpredicted increase in fruit size. Lippman says: “The real Holy Grail in all this for crop breeding is predictability. If I mutate this sequence, I’m going to get this effect. Because there is this sea of other variants that nature has accumulated nearby the mutation that you’re engineering, as well as scattered throughout the genome, many of which could be influencing the specific mutation that you’re creating.”

This range of interactions for any two mutations models the consequences of a single mutation occurring in different genetic backgrounds. The effect is comparable to those found in some human diseases, where some people might have certain pre-existing mutations that protect them from disease-causing mutations.

Lippman and his team will continue quantifying how individual and combined mutations affect certain crop traits. So far, they have measured interactions between two individual mutations, but genomes have millions of variations. Lippman hopes to study enough measurable interactions to make breeding more predictable and efficient.

For more information:
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

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Israel announces creation of global seed company

Two Israeli seed producers, Nirit Seeds and TomaTech, have joined forces to create Israel’s largest vegetable seed company. This synergy will enable unique seed breeding research and development that will accelerate the company’s growth in the international seed markets.

Upon completion of the merger, the company will have more than 80 employees worldwide, including molecular biologists, breeders, agronomists, and others.
The company will improve its breeding activities in Israel, Spain, Mexico and Italy, as well as significantly expand its representation in the Netherlands and North America, with a particular focus on growing vegetables in high-tech greenhouses.

Nirit Seeds is one of the most successful internationally traded tomato and pepper seed producers, investing in the development of revolutionary genetic technologies. TomaTech is one of the leading tomato seed companies in Israel, developing premium varieties, including those resistant to the dangerous Tomato Brown Ruffle Virus (ToBRFV).

The production of crop seeds is one of the most advanced and high-tech sectors in Israel. According to the Seed Department of the Federation of Israel Chambers of Commerce, seed exports currently generate $200 million in annual revenue. There are about 25 large and medium-sized companies in the local industry.

For reference. According to market research, the global vegetable seed industry is valued at $8 billion a year and is growing at a CAGR of 8%.

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Karachay-Cherkessia became one of the leaders in the production of greenhouse vegetables at the end of 2021


Greenhouse vegetable production in 2021 reached a record 1.4 million tonnes. According to the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation, the leaders among the regions in this segment are the Karachay-Cherkess Republic, Lipetsk, Moscow, Kaluga, Volgograd, Novosibirsk, Saratov, Chelyabinsk regions, Krasnodar and Stavropol Territories, the Republics of Bashkortostan and Tatarstan. These regions account for more than 60% of the total production in the country. The intensive development of greenhouse projects in our country helps to provide Russians with fresh vegetables all year round. Last year, the harvest in winter greenhouses updated the 2020 record – more than 1.4 million tons of products were received. Including the production of cucumbers amounted to at least 830 thousand tons, and tomatoes – 590 thousand tons. It is expected that by 2025 the volume of vegetable production in year-round greenhouses will be at least 1.6 million tons of vegetables.


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December: Special Year Overview

In 2022, it will be 22 year since the new millennium started. Can’t believe it? Neither can we, but it is true. Before we go there, it is time to reflect on what has happened this year. Over the next couple of weeks, we will look back at 2021 and we will highlight the most important events that impacted the industry.

New greenhouses, events, even a few shows, technical novelties, and all other relevant news will pass by, offering you something other than Covid to talk about during Christmas and New Years’.


Wish your customers Happy Holidays
This special also offers an opportunity to put your company in the spotlight with a banner in this special box. This banner can be booked until December 24 on our newsletters. For more information, feel free to send an email to: 

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