Finding out how to develop drought-tolerant tomatoes is one of the goals of this European Research project.
Researchers here think the answer doesn’t lie in genetically modified organisms, but in nature itself.
“Our approach is to use natural biodiversity in order to identify traits that come from wild species, that are related to core plants, and transferring these traits through conventional means into modern tomatoes, thereby achieving a tomato that has the old traits plus an additional bonus trait that comes from the wild species,” explains yield project coordinator Daniel Zamir from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Biotechnologist Yael Goldberg from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem explains: “We are screening hundreds of DNA samples. And from those hundreds of DNA samples we can see which ones are resistant, which ones are strong and are going to be the good tomatoes in the end, and we can continue with those specific lines and breed those.”
Similar research is being applied to develop varieties not only resistant to drought, but also to pests and diseases that also adversely affect tomato yields.
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