A gene knock-out that leads to seedless parthenocarpic fruits in Solanaceae plants ($) (PNAS)

Parthenocarpy, or the ability to make fruit without fertilization, is desirable for many reasons including the opportunity to make seedless fruits and a greater resiliency in crop production in the face of climate change. Matsuo et al. identified a new gene involved in parthenocarpy, starting with a spontaneous parthenocarpic mutation arising in eggplant. The gene is named PARENTAL ADVICE-1 (Pad-1), from an old Japanese proverb that says that “Similar to eggplant flowers, none of the thousands of parental advices will be wasted.” Although fruit develops in the absence of pollination, seeds form when pad-1 mutants are pollinated, making these lines useful for breeding purposes.  The Pad-1 gene encodes an aminotransferase with homology to the Arabidopsis VAS1 gene that has a role in auxin homeostasis, and pad-1 mutants show elevated auxin levels which may be why the ovaries develop. Knocking out the Pad-1 gene in tomato and pepper similarly produced seedless fruit, a trait that will prove popular to many cooks. (Summary by Mary Williams @PlantTeaching)  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 10.1073/pnas.2001211117