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Crop Biotech Update

Researchers Sequence 360 Tomato Varieties to Produce Map of Evolution

October 15, 2014

An international team led by scientists from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) in Beijing, China, has published a brief genomic history of tomato breeding, based on sequencing of 360 varieties of the tomato plant, including wild and domesticated species.

This study, led by Sanwen Huang of the Institute of Vegetables and Flowers at CAAS, builds on the Heinz 1706 variety, the first tomato genome sequence completed in 2012. For this project, the researchers sequenced 333 red varieties, 10 wild tomato species, and 17 modern commercial hybrids from around the world.

Researchers found that tomato mass evolved through a two-step process from the small wild tomato to cherry tomato and then to the big-fruit tomato. The study also reveals the genetic differences between large tomato varieties, and processing tomatoes such as Heinz 1706. The researchers identified genes responsible for this phenotype located on chromosome five, representing a genetic signature of the processing tomato.

The results of this sequencing study are available online in Nature Genetics. The abstract is available at: http://www.nature.com/ng/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ng.3117.html. For details, read http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/41194/title/360-Degree-View-of-the-Tomato/.