Biotech Updates

"Tomato Expression Atlas" Provides Deeper Understanding of the Crop

February 7, 2018

Breeders have always questioned how a fruit ripens. An extensive and fruitful collaboration between Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI), Cornell University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has produced a spatiotemporal map of gene expression across all tissues and developmental stages of the tomato fruit – the genetic information underlying how a fruit changes from inside to out as it ripens. Their data is available online in the new Tomato Expression Atlas (TEA).

The researchers carefully dissected the tomato tissues by hand and with laser capture microdissection to isolate and sequence RNA, the genetic material that makes each tissue distinct, from individual tissues and even cells. The sequence data were then compiled, parsed, and organized into the TEA, where it can be analyzed to investigate the various biological processes important for fruit development.

The clearer image of the biological processes underlying the development of the tomato fruit will help researchers to quickly identify the genetic basis for the many important traits that are valuable in tomatoes and other fruits.

For more details, read the BTI News, or visit the Tomato Expression Atlas.