Forget vegetables with dull colors and fuzzy skin or fruits that lack flavor -- the produce aisle of the future could offer plant products that are designed for creative cooks and fussy eaters. In a review article published 19 July 2018 in the journal Trends in Plant Science, two food researchers describe how new breeding technologies have the potential to enhance the shape, size, color, and health benefits of produce, as well as to inform conventional breeding programs. "Novelty drives a lot of first time purchasing," says Andrew Allan of New Zealand science institute Plant & Food Research, who co-wrote the article with Richard Espley. "If the experience is good, then the consumer will purchase again. Choice is the key -- there is no risk with more choice." In their review, the authors describe how fast breeding with CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing doesn't rely on the addition of a new DNA sequence as is often the case with other genetically modified crops. Rather, these breeding technologies allow scientists to edit existing genes, particularly transcription factor genes called MYBs, which control many of a plant's key consumer traits. Information from these experiments can also be used to inform selection criteria in conventional breeding programs. "MYBs often regulate the compounds that generate a fruit or vegetables' 'wow' factor -- its color," Allan says. "These compounds are also associated with important health benefits such as lowering cardiovascular disease or acting as vitamins. By using MYBs to elevate these compounds to create a richer color, we can make produce both more appealing to consumers and more beneficial for the human diet."