The study of transcriptional regulation of tomato ripening has been led by spontaneous mutations in transcription factor (TF) genes that completely inhibit normal ripening, suggesting that they are ‘master regulators’. Studies using CRISPR/Cas9 mutagenesis to produce knockouts of the underlying genes indicate a different picture, suggesting that the regulation is more robust than previously thought. This requires us to revisit our model of the regulation of ripening and replace it with one involving a network of partially redundant components. At the same time, the fast rise of CRISPR/Cas mutagenesis, resulting in unexpectedly weak phenotypes, compared with knockdown technology, suggests that compensatory mechanisms may obscure protein functions. This emphasises the need for assessment of these mechanisms in plants and for the careful design of mutagenesis experiments.
- CRISPR- mutagenesis
- transcription factors