Scientists use gene editing to modify rare fruit

Scientists to use CRISPR to modify a rare fruit to make it more accessible to the public

    2018/10/05

NSFW    USA — Scientists have come up with a way to modify a rare fruit and make it more accessible to the public.

Researchers have genetically modified ground cherries to be larger and easier to grow than those found in the wild, according to a study published in Nature Plants.

Ground cherries are usually found in South America as well as Central America, and are as small as a marble.

The researchers involved described the taste of the fruit as "tropical yet sour" with a slight hint of vanilla.

Ground cherries are also referred to as an "orphan crop" as it is grown on a small scale, but are difficult to produce enough to sell commercially as they often fall onto the ground before they are fully ripe.

Scientists used CRISPR, a gene editing tool, to target a gene known as CLAVATA 1 to increase the size of the fruit, which resulted in the fruit becoming 25 percent heavier.

Scientists also plan to edit the self-pruning gene found in the ground cherry to stop the plants shoots from continuing to grow once the fruit is ripe.

The researchers hope this will help make ground cherries more appealing to the public, as well as inspire other scientists to genetically modify other rare fruits.
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