Developing tomato plants with enhanced lycopene levels aims to utilize the
positive effects of lycopene on tomato fruits' visual and nutritional
properties. Hence, the team of Xindi Li of the China Agricultural University
aimed to increase lycopene levels in tomato using CRISPR-Cas9. The team
hoped to improve the accumulation of lycopene by using CRISPR-Cas9 to
knockdown genes associated with the carotenoid metabolic pathway.
Five tomato genes associated with the carotenoid metabolic pathway were
targeted. The CRISPR-Cas9 was successful in inducing simultaneous targeted
mutations in multiple genes of interest. The fruits from the resulting
tomato lines expressed a 5.1-fold increase in lycopene content. The
mutations were also found to be stably transmitted to succeeding
These results suggest that CRISPR-Cas9 can be used for improving the
lycopene content in tomatoes.