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.