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CRISPR, Interesting Facts and New Varieties: A Tomato Deep Dive

Tomatoes are a massive crop globally, with more than 10,000 varieties of tomatoes worldwide and 18,099 tonnes produced in the EU in 2021, according to the European Commission. This year proved to be a crucial one for the red and juicy fruit as European Seed covered stories that dove into CRISPR tomatoes, gene-edited tomatoes, new varieties and more.

 Learn more about tomatoes with these five stories.

Are Consumers Willing to Buy CRISPR Tomatoes?

Researchers from Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry conducted a survey to investigate the willingness of consumers to purchase tomatoes developed using CRISPR.

Are Gene-Edited Tomatoes a New Source for Vitamin D?

Vitamin D insufficiency continues to grow, linked to greater risk of cancer, dementia, increased severity of Covid-19 and other main causes of mortality. Gene-edited tomatoes that produce vitamin D could be a sustainable solution to these global health issues.

Tomatoes’ Roots Trail Back Further than Campbell’s Soup

There are plenty of vegetables whose genetics have stood the test of time — including the tomato. While it’s believed that domestication of tomato ancestors began sometime around 7,000 years ago in South America, recent research in genetics indicates that the smaller, cherry-sized tomatoes appeared first 80,000 years ago in Ecuador, according to the University of Illinois.

Researchers Celebrate Milestone Decision for Purple GM Tomatoes

The USDA has announced its decision to allow U.S. home growers to purchase and grow high-anthocyanin purple tomato seeds beginning in 2023, according to a release.

Opportunities and Challenges in Store for Tomatoes

Tomatoes aren’t a small crop globally, and that is no different in the EU. In fact, EU farmers alone produce nearly 17 million metric tons of the fruit each year, according to Hazera. The COVID-19 pandemic played an important part in driving the thriving market. In 2020, fresh tomato global retail sales rose 17.6 per cent, as people had to eat in their homes.

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