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Elimination of side shoots

We have attempted to eliminate side shoots by the judicial manipulation of LS gene expression in vegetative or floral meristems. Mutation of the LS gene causes inhibition of lateral shoot formation. However, ls mutants cannot be used commercially because the mutation also causes defects in flower development and so ls mutants have reduced fertility.

Two general transgene-based approaches were pursued to overcome this: Complementation of the ls mutant using flower-specific LS constructs Inhibition of LS activity in vegetative meristems. The second approach has been the most promising. For this, we have successfully been able to inhibit LS activity using either RNAi constructs or a dominant negative version of LS with the 35S promoter. Both strategies result in tomato plants with normal flower development and fruit yields, but lacking lateral shoots. Furthermore, the phenotypes are inherited as dominant traits, implying that these transgenes-based methodologies could be employed in future breeding programmes.

Reported by

Max Planck Institute for Breeding Research
Max Planck Institute for Breeding Research
50829 Cologne
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