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   USDA Researchers Are Tapping Tomatoes For Taste
by Dennis O'Brien, USDA Agricultural Research Magazine
Posted: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 9:01AM EDT

Tomatoes are a $2 billion crop in the United States, and we demand a lot from them. No matter where we live, we want fresh, delicious tomatoes to be available year-round. Large-scale producers ship tomatoes long distances, and that makes firmness and long-term storage top priorities for tomato breeders.

Consumers, however, value garden-fresh taste. A common complaint is that tomatoes in supermarkets lack the flavor of locally grown varieties. To improve flavor, breeders need to know more about the varieties that hold the greatest potential for enhancing taste.

Joanne Labate, an Agricultural Research Service molecular biologist, and Larry Robertson, curator of the ARS Plant Genetic Resources Unit vegetable collections in Geneva, New York, joined with Dilip Panthee of North Carolina State University to explore tomato’s genetic diversity in a comprehensive study designed to help breeders develop tastier tomatoes.

To read the rest of the story, please go to: USDA Agricultural Research Magazine

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