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These Gene-Edited Tomatoes Are Fit for Outer Space
Scientists have created the perfect tomato: it grows faster, uses less land, and could even grow in outer space.
Using gene editing, a team at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory made small changes to three genes in cherry tomatoes that drastically improved the way the plant grows. These gene-edited tomatoes can grow vertically like grapes and only take about 40 days to be ready for harvest.
“This demonstrates how we can produce crops in new ways, without having to tear up the land as much or add excessive fertilizer that runs off into rivers and streams,” said plant biologist Zach Lippman. “Here's a complementary approach to help feed people, locally and with a reduced carbon footprint.”
This breakthrough could be particularly beneficial for NASA, which has been testing various plants’ abilities to grow in outer space. Growers on planet Earth could benefit, too, especially those in urban settings with less land available to them.