Genetically modified tomatoes for Mars began to grow in bunches, like grapes

In addition to the scarcity of resources, one of the key problems of growing food in the hostile conditions of other worlds will be the lack of space for fields. If conditional greens can grow in a pot, then a spreading tomato bush takes up too much space in relation to the volume of the grown crop. The solution will be new, previously unseen varieties that have undergone genetic modification.

The American Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has created a variety of cherry tomatoes that grow in clusters like grapes. The fruits are crowded together and take up much less space, while maintaining all nutritional and taste qualities. Alas, so far success has been achieved only with cherry, due to the initially small size of these tomatoes.

To develop such a variety, American geneticists had to use the CRISPR tool. With his help, three plant genes were edited. The first is responsible for the length of the stems, which in the new variety have become as short as possible. The second gene controls the onset of fruiting. Nothing is known about the third, except that it was he who helped preserve the taste and juiciness of tomatoes.

An added bonus is that new cherry blossoms reach ripeness in just 40 days. And this opens up great opportunities to benefit from them even before space exploration. In particular, to build vertical greenhouses of a new type, which will yield a crop 10 times a year with a minimum consumption of fertilizers and a decrease in the total carbon footprint. Next in line are experiments with another interesting fruit - kiwi.