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

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


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Flowers / physiology
  • Gene Library
  • Genes, Plant / genetics*
  • Heterozygote
  • Homozygote
  • Hybrid Vigor
  • Lycopersicon esculentum / genetics*
  • Lycopersicon esculentum / metabolism
  • Models, Genetic
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Phenotype
  • Plant Proteins / genetics*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Time Factors


  • Plant Proteins

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AY186735
  • GENBANK/LEU84140