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High pigment tomato mutants—more than just lycopene (a review)

In: Israel Journal of Plant Sciences
Authors:
Ilan LevinDepartment of Plant Genetics and Breeding, Institute of Plant Sciences, The Volcani Center

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C.H. Ric de VosPlant Research International

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Yaakov TadmorDepartment of Plant Genetics and Breeding, Institute of Plant Sciences, The Volcani Center

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Arnaud BovyPlant Research International

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Michal LiebermanDepartment of Plant Genetics and Breeding, Institute of Plant Sciences, The Volcani Center

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Michal Oren-ShamirDepartment of Plant Genetics and Breeding, Institute of Plant Sciences, The Volcani Center

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Orit SegevDepartment of Plant Genetics and Breeding, Institute of Plant Sciences, The Volcani Center

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Igor KolotilinDepartment of Plant Genetics and Breeding, Institute of Plant Sciences, The Volcani Center

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Menachem KellerDepartment of Plant Genetics and Breeding, Institute of Plant Sciences, The Volcani Center

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Rinat OvadiaDepartment of Plant Genetics and Breeding, Institute of Plant Sciences, The Volcani Center

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Ayala MeirDepartment of Plant Genetics and Breeding, Institute of Plant Sciences, The Volcani Center

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Raoul J. BinoPlant Research International
Laboratory for Plant Physiology, Wageningen University
Centre for BioSystems Genomics

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Fruit constitutes a major component of our diet, providing fiber, vitamins, minerals, and many phytonutrients that promote good health. Fleshy fruits such as tomatoes already contain high levels of several of these ingredients. Nevertheless, efforts have been invested in increasing and diversifying the content of phytonutrients, such as carotenoids and flavonoids, in tomato fruits. These efforts rely on transgenic approaches, and the use of single-point mutations and/or quantitative trait loci affecting levels of these phytonutrients. The tomato high pigment (hp) mutations are a good example of the latter alternative. Due to their impact on fruit lycopene content, hp mutations were already introgressed into elite tomato germplasm. Interestingly, plants carrying these mutations are also characterized by higher levels of other health-promoting metabolites, such as flavonoids and vitamins. These mutations were initially marked as lesions in structural genes of the carotenoid biosynthetic pathway. However, recent studies have shown that they represent mutations in two regulatory genes active in light signal transduction, also known as photomorphogenesis. This gene-identification has created a conceptual link between photomorphogenesis and biosynthesis of fruit phytonutrients, and suggests that manipulation of the light signal transduction machinery in plants may be an effective approach towards practical manipulation of fruit phytonutrients.

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