Why are strawberries so big? The genetics behind ‘up-sizing’ fruits and vegetables

NC Strawberry Grower

Once upon a time, there was a land where food was not guaranteed everyday. Children were searching woods to pick up berries. When they were lucky they would find strawberries. The fruits were small but really tasty. Around the fire at night, they would hear legends about magical beans and giant plants.

Centuries later, for most, the reality is quite different …. [G]iant veggies and fruits are real and abundant. And you probably don’t even realize it because it is so normal.

Think about strawberries. Did you ever wonder why they are so giant? Is it just good genes and nutrition, mostly healthy plants that produce larger fruit?

Happy plants definitely helps, but the answer lies elsewhere: ploidy.

The ploidy is the number of sets of chromosomes in a cell …. [A] quarter of the plants on this planet are polyploid (>2 sets of chromosomes) including 30% of crops …. For example, polyploidy makes strawberry giant, banana seedless, cotton fibers more abundant and lily flowers larger and brighter.

Related article:  'Jumping' genes responsible for strawberry sexes show how fast plants evolve

Dana Robinson and colleagues from Cornell University studied the plant model Arabidopsis thaliana to quantify many cell components in chromosome-heavy plants. Their findings were published in The Plant Cell.

The researchers found that the cell area increases, but does not exactly double (~1.7x increase) when ploidy doubles. More importantly, the plant compensates for the increase in size by decreasing the number of cells.

Read full, original article: Up-Sizing: The Tale of The Polyploid Giants

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. WSJ's Drew Hinshaw explains how ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend