Tomato breeding has been tremendously efficient in increasing fruit quality and quantity but did not focus on improving herbivore resistance. The biosynthetic pathway for the production of 7-epizingiberene in a wild tomato was introduced into a cultivated greenhouse variety with the aim to obtain herbivore resistance. 7-Epizingiberene is a specific sesquiterpene with toxic and repellent properties that is produced and stored in glandular trichomes. We identified 7-epizingiberene synthase (ShZIS) that belongs to a new class of sesquiterpene synthases, exclusively using Z-Z-farnesyl-diphosphate (zFPP) in plastids, probably arisen through neo-functionalization of a common ancestor. Expression of the ShZIS and zFPP synthases in the glandular trichomes of cultivated tomato resulted in the production of 7-epizingiberene. These tomatoes gained resistance to several herbivores that are pests of tomato. Hence, introduction of this sesquiterpene biosynthetic pathway into cultivated tomatoes resulted in improved herbivore resistance.
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