Imagine growing tomatoes on a roof in the big city, which is currently being done. Or what about even growing them in outer space? Yes sir, I am talking about growing tomatoes in the Milky Way. But I’m not talking about grow lights, which we can use to grow plants in outer space; I’m talking about a new tomato which has been made through gene editing.

Cold Harbour Spring Laboratory is leading the way in developing plants to be grown in cities and other undesirable places to grow food. Professor Zach Lippman is leading the way in helping develop the new tomatoes, which look nothing like traditional tomatoes. They are bunched up together, like grapes or baby’s breath flowers. But of course, they are tomatoes instead of grapes or pretty flowers.

These new tomatoes mature quickly, taste good, are small and eco-friendly. They can produce tomatoes within 40 days, ready to eat. The smaller they are, the less space you have to take up for them, meaning you can grow more in a smaller area. In addition, you don’t have to plow or plant or anything involving tearing at the land and resources we have. They can be grown in the slotted plant holders using aquaculture or even grown using grow lights.

Lippman's lab found changing the SP (Self Pruning) and SP5G genes make the plant stop growing, causing it to flower and produce fruit quicker, making a perfect plant for small, tight spaces.

To make things even, for lack of a better word, cooler, Lippman stated, “I can tell you NASA scientists have expressed some interest in our new tomatoes.”

Schiereck is the El Dorado Springs FFA chapter president.

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