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Checkbiotech: Growers welcome international tomato gene project
Posted by: DR. RAUPP & madora (IP Logged)
Date: November 30, 2004 05:13PM ;

British researchers and tomato growers have welcomed the announcement that
the UK is to play a role in an international project to sequence the genes
of the tomato, November 2004.

The 12 chromosomes present in tomatoes have been allocated to ten
international teams for sequencing, as part of an overarching "International
Solanaceae Genome Project". US researchers will sequence three chromosomes,
while teams from China, France, Japan, Korea, India, Italy, the Netherlands,
Spain and the UK will each study an individual chromosome. The British team
will examine tomato chromosome four.

The ?700,000 (US$1.3m) three-and-a-half-year research project is being led
by researchers from Imperial College London, University of Warwick and the
Scottish Crop Research Institute. The grant is supported by the
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and Scottish
Executive Environment Rural Affairs department (SEERAD). The team will use
the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridgeshire for the sequencing.

The researchers say that unravelling the genetic information of the tomato
will greatly enhance conventional breeding strategies and enable the
generation of new crop varieties with improved disease resistance and
nutritional quality.

Gerry Hayman, executive officer of the UK?s Tomato Growers Association,
welcomed the project.

"Technical innovation has been the lifeblood of British growers. We have
achieved spectacular improvements in productivity developing a wide range of
new tomato types in response to consumer demand with the emphasis firmly on
flavour and high nutrient content. Growers have had to be pragmatic in
recognising that some new technologies, such as GM, are not currently
acceptable to consumers. But this project should help to pinpoint desirable
characteristics in the genetic make-up of the tomato so these can be
introduced into new varieties by conventional breeding methods," Hayman


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