Comparison of red raspberry and wild strawberry fruits reveals mechanisms of fruit type specification

Here’s a sweet story of gene expression and fruit form, starting with the simple question of “why do closely related strawberry and raspberry fruits look so different?” In strawberry, the ovaries become dry achenes where in raspberies they become juicy druplets; in strawberry the stem tip (receptacle) becomes the juicy fruit, where in raspberry it shrinks and dries. To investigate the molecular bases for these different tissue fates, Zhou et al. carried out genomic and transcriptomic analysis of red raspberry (Rubus idaeus), which they compared to datasets from wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca). Through this, they identified sets of genes in each organ type that are differentially expressed between fruit types, providing a framework for understanding the evolution of different fruit types. (This article reminds me of one of my favorite episodes of Dr. Molly Edward’s YouTube series, Science IRL, in which she describes all the different ways that plants produce fruits (Summary by Mary Williams @PlantTeaching) Plant Physiol. 10.1093/plphys/kiad409