Genome editing as a tool to achieve the crop ideotype and de novo domestication of wild relatives: Case study in tomato

Agustin Zsögön, Tomas Cermak, Dan Voytas, Lázaro Eustáquio Pereira Peres

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


The ideotype is a theoretical model of an archetypal cultivated plant. Recent progress in genome editing is aiding the pursuit of this ideal in crop breeding. Breeding is relatively straightforward when the traits in question are monogenic in nature and show Mendelian inheritance. Conversely, traits with a diffuse, polygenic basis such as abiotic stress resistance are more difficult to harness. In recent years, many genes have been identified that are important for plant domestication and act by increasing yield, grain or fruit size or altering plant architecture. Here, we propose that (a) key monogenic traits whose physiology has been unveiled can be molecularly tailored to achieve the ideotype; and (b) wild relatives of crops harboring polygenic stress resistance genes or other traits of interest could be de novo domesticated by manipulating monogenic yield-related traits through state-of-the-art gene editing techniques. An overview of the genomic and physiological challenges in the world's main staple crops is provided. We focus on tomato and its wild Solanum (section Lycopersicon) relatives as a suitable model for molecular design in the pursuit of the ideotype for elite cultivars and to test de novo domestication of wild relatives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-130
Number of pages11
JournalPlant Science
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
AZ and LEPP received fellowships from FAPESP (2013/11451-2) and CNPq (307040/2014-3), respectively. This work was partially funded by FAPESP (2015/50220-2). We thank Professor Adriano Nunes-Nesi (University of Viçosa – Brazil) for critical reading of an early version of the manuscript. We thank Dr. Frederico Almeida de Jesus, Mateus Henrique Vicente and Diego Sevastian Reartes for help with photos. We are also grateful to Professor Joerg Kudla (University of Münster, Germany), Dr. Leonardo Boiteux (EMBRAPA Hortaliças, Brazil) and Dr. Matías González (INIA, Uruguay) for helpful discussion in developing the concepts presented in this article. Five anonymous reviewers and the editor are gratefully acknowledged for insightful comments on the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ireland Ltd


  • Breeding
  • CRISPR/Cas9
  • Genome editing
  • Stress resistance
  • TALENs
  • Yield


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