Israeli scientists develop drought-resistant tomatoes

Israeli researchers have developed a new variety of tomato that is more resistant to drought conditions and could help farmers cope with the destructive impact of climate change. An in-depth genetic analysis led by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Shai Torgeman and Professor Dani Zamir identified interactions between two areas of the tomato’s genome that lead to increased yield and resistance to dry conditions.

The resulting new tomato variety, which has yet to be named, can cope with extreme weather conditions. The study’s findings were published on Monday in the peer-reviewed Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) journal.

“Commercial tomato breeds grown in open-field conditions and that you find in supermarkets on average require 317,000 gallons per acre each season,” Shai Torgeman, a doctoral candidate at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, told The Media Line. “In our study, we cut this water amount in half and got great results.”

To achieve this, scientists crossbred two species of tomatoes – a wild variety that comes all the way from the deserts of western Peru with a common commercial cultivar that is widely available.


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