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This is the first food the company has grown using its On-Demand Breeding process, which is non-GMO and uses epigenetics to develop plant traits 10 times faster than current methods.
Sound Agriculture (Emeryville, CA) has launched a new slicing tomato variety called Summer Swell which the company says boasts superior taste and extended peak flavor. This is the first food the company has grown using its On-Demand Breeding process, which is non-GMO and uses epigenetics to develop plant traits 10 times faster than current methods. Instead of changing the DNA sequencing, like genetic modification, Sound’s On-Demand Breeding “tunes” gene expression.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, “Gene expression refers to how often or when proteins are created from the instructions within your genes.” On-Demand Breeding, says Sound, targets areas of the genome that influence specific traits and augments the expression of genes through a natural cell pathway to enhance these traits. According to Sounds, this is faster and less expensive than genetic medication, and while achieving the same goals as traditional breeding, takes less time and results in no tradeoffs of other desirable traits that can occur when developing plant hybrids.
The Summer Swell tomato was developed in two years, and offers a number of benefits over existing slicing tomatoes, namely: 1) more flavor, reminiscent of an heirloom tomato, 2) the ability to stay on the vine longer to develop more flavor and sweetness, while also being able to withstand transport, and 3) retention of flavor and firmness for eight days, compared to three days for more heirloom tomatoes.
The tomato will be distributed through the NYC-based produce wholesaler distributor S. Katzman Produce, and will be available at grocery stores in the New York metropolitan area beginning in April of 2023. Sound Agriculture says is it working with a dozen companies, including CPGs, ingredient and seed companies to develop new varieties to improve nutritional content, reduce browning, increase resistance to pests, improve texture, enhance color, and other benefits to address important health and sustainability issues.
“With On-Demand Breeding, consumers have access to great tasting plant-based options today without having to wait the five to ten years required by the traditional breeding process,” said Adam Litle, CEO, Sound Agriculture, in a press release. “By tuning natural trait expression, the Summer Swell tomato gives people access to delicious heirloom tomato flavor any time of year.”