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Nat Genet. 2010 May;42(5):459-63. doi: 10.1038/ng.550. Epub 2010 Mar 28.

The flowering gene SINGLE FLOWER TRUSS drives heterosis for yield in tomato.

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Institute of Plant Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Faculty of Agriculture, Rehovot, Israel.


Intercrossing different varieties of plants frequently produces hybrid offspring with superior vigor and increased yields, in a poorly understood phenomenon known as heterosis. One classical unproven model for heterosis is overdominance, which posits in its simplest form that improved vigor can result from a single heterozygous gene. Here we report that heterozygosity for tomato loss-of-function alleles of SINGLE FLOWER TRUSS (SFT), which is the genetic originator of the flowering hormone florigen, increases yield by up to 60%. Yield overdominance from SFT heterozygosity is robust, occurring in distinct genetic backgrounds and environments. We show that several traits integrate pleiotropically to drive heterosis in a multiplicative manner, and these effects derive from a suppression of growth termination mediated by SELF PRUNING (SP), an antagonist of SFT. Our findings provide the first example of a single overdominant gene for yield and suggest that single heterozygous mutations may improve productivity in other agricultural organisms.

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