A research team from Northwest A&F University has genetically modified tomatoes to significantly boost their cold resistance. Their results, published in Horticulture Research, highlight the role of the SlGAD2 gene in enhancing the tomato’s tolerance to low temperatures.

Through genetic modifications, the researchers increased the synthesis of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which greatly improved the plant’s resistance to cold stress. The study shows that overexpressing the SlGAD2 gene significantly elevates GABA levels, leading to stronger cellular defenses and less damage from cold exposure.

Further investigations reveal that tomatoes with enhanced SlGAD2 expression exhibit higher antioxidant enzyme activity. Additionally, this genetic modification results in greater production of anthocyanins, compounds known for their protective effects against environmental stress.

These findings suggest that SlGAD2 is a promising target for developing cold-resistant tomato varieties. Dr. Tianlai Li, a co-author of the study, notes: “This breakthrough opens new avenues for bioengineering tomato plants to thrive in colder climates, potentially expanding their agricultural range and improving food security in climate-sensitive regions.”

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