Breeding of crops over millennia for yield and productivity1 has led to reduced genetic diversity. As a result, beneficial traits of wild species, such as disease resistance and stress tolerance, have been lost2. We devised a CRISPR–Cas9 genome engineering strategy to combine agronomically desirable traits with useful traits present in wild lines. We report that editing of six loci that are important for yield and productivity in present-day tomato crop lines enabled de novo domestication of wild Solanum pimpinellifolium. Engineered S. pimpinellifolium morphology was altered, together with the size, number and nutritional value of the fruits. Compared with the wild parent, our engineered lines have a threefold increase in fruit size and a tenfold increase in fruit number. Notably, fruit lycopene accumulation is improved by 500% compared with the widely cultivated S. lycopersicum. Our results pave the way for molecular breeding programs to exploit the genetic diversity present in wild plants.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We are grateful to S. Schültke for technical assistance. This work was supported by funding from the Agency for the Support and Evaluation of Graduate Education (CAPES, Brazil), the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq, Brazil) and Foundation for Research Assistance of the São Paulo State (FAPESP, Brazil), and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF, Germany). We thank CAPES for studentships granted to E.R.N. and FAPESP for the studentship granted to M.M.N. (2013/12209-1). L.F. was supported by FAPESP grant 2013/18056-2. FAPESP and BMBF provided a grant for L.E.P.P. (2015/50220-2) and J.K. (031B0334). L.E.P.P. acknowledges a grant from CNPq (grant 307040/2014-3).
© 2018, Nature Publishing Group. All rights reserved.