Tomato Could Get Genetic Reboot From Wild Ancestor

Thousands of years ago, people in the region now known as South America began domesticating Solanum pimpinellifolium, a weedy plant with small, intensely flavored fruit. Over time, the plant evolved into S. lycopersicum – the modern cultivated tomato.

Although today’s tomatoes are larger and easier to farm than their wild ancestor, they also are less resistant to disease and environmental stresses like drought and salty soil.

Researchers from Boyce Thompson Institute have created a high-quality reference genome for S. pimpinellifolium and discovered sections of the genome that underlie fruit flavor, size and ripening, stress tolerance and disease resistance. Their results were published Nov. 16 in Nature Communications.

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