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Scientists Unravel the Genetic Secrets of a Pink Tomato

Date : 5 February 2010

Researchers at the Weizmann Institute in Israel have pinpointed a gene responsible for producing pink tomatoes. The gene, SIMYB12, acts as a master switch that regulates the activities of a whole network of other genes, including those that control the amounts of flavonoid and lycopene expressed in the tomato fruit. Expression of SIMYB12 was also found to alter the fatty acid composition of the pink tomato's outer layer, causing its cuticle to be both thinner and less flexible that a regular tomato skin.

"Since identifying the gene, we found we could use it as a marker to predict the future color of the fruit in the very early stages of development, even before the plant has flowered. This ability could accelerate efforts to develop new, exotic tomato varieties, a process that can generally take over 10 years," explained Asaph Aharoni, leader of the study.

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