Scientists from Wageningen University Discover Wild Relative of Tomato Resistant to Many Insects
Scientists from the Wageningen University & Research have discovered a wild
tomato species from the Galapagos Islands that is resistant to a wide range
of insect pests. The wild tomato is closely related to the cultivated
tomato, making the resilience easier to interbreed into the latter and
ultimately make it resistant to many different types of insects.
Cultivated tomatoes are more vulnerable to pest and diseases, having lost
their natural resistance in the process of breeding. Scientists are working
to reverse this by reintroducing resistance from wild relatives through
breeding, but very distant relatives of the cultivated tomato have yet to be
successfully interbred to get the required traits. The wild tomato from the
Galapagos Islands, however, is genetically very similar to the cultivated
tomato, and its resistance is coded within a single chromosome, which should
make crossbreeding into existing plants much easier.
Ben Vosman, scientist at Wageningen University and Research said, "We worked
with samples of the wild tomato species Solanum galapagense from a gene
bank. The first discovery was that this tomato species is resistant to
whiteflies. Then it turned out that it is actually resilient to a lot of
other insects too, including the green peach aphid and caterpillars of the
beet armyworm. That was a very pleasant surprise."