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Tomato Pan-Genome Reveals 4,873 Undocumented Genes
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: May 25, 2019 10:45AM

As tomato breeders focused on traits that improve production such as larger
fruits and more fruits per plant, some traits for other qualities (flavor,
disease resistance) were lost. Now, scientists from the USDA Agricultural
Research Service (ARS) and the Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) have created a
pan-genome that captures all of the genetic information of 725 cultivated
and closely related wild tomatoes, mapping 4,873 genes that were absent from
the original reference genome.

The first tomato genome sequence was released in 2012, revealing
approximately 35,000 genes and facilitating crop improvement efforts. Since
then, several hundred additional tomato genotypes have been sequenced. The
pan-genome helps identify additional genes that might be available for crop
breeding and improvement. "One of the most important discoveries from
constructing this pan-genome is a rare form of a gene labeled TomLoxC, which
mostly differs in the version of its DNA gene promoter. The gene influences
fruit flavor by catalyzing the biosynthesis of a number of lipid
(fat)-involved volatiles-compounds that evaporate easily and contribute to
the aroma," explained James Giovannoni, a BTI faculty member and USDA

The researchers found that TomLoxC also facilitates the production of a
group of apocarotenoids-organic chemicals from carotenoids including vitamin
A precursors-that work as signaling molecules influencing a variety of
responses in plants including environmental stresses. The compounds also
have floral and fruity odors that are important in tomato taste.


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