OU scientists and international team decipher the genetic code of the tomato

May 30, 2012

University of Oklahoma scientists and others from more than a dozen countries joined together to sequence the tomato genome and, ultimately, improve the nation's $2 billion tomato crop. The Tomato Genomics Consortium directed the research effort, which was supported in the United States by the National Science Foundation and the USDA's Agriculture Research Services.

The OU team led by Bruce Roe, George L. Cross Research Professor Emeritus in the College of Arts and Sciences, was one of the U.S. partners participating in the Consortium to sequence the tomato genome, which revealed the order, orientation, types and relative positions of the 35,000 genes. The genomes of the domesticated tomato and a related wild tomato are the first varieties ever sequenced.

According to Roe, "The tomato is the model system for studying fruit development. The significance of obtaining the highly accurate genome structure of the tomato is that it has helped us gain a greater understanding of the genes controlling fruit characteristics and processes, such as those involved in fruit color, flavor and texture."

These new studies lay the groundwork for the development of new strains of tomatoes with more desired traits, such as higher yields, increased disease resistance, more climate tolerance, new colorings and more alluring aromas. Growers will benefit from lower costs and an improved crop; consumers will benefit from a more desirable fruit.

Fresh market tomatoes were worth an estimated $1.3 billion to U.S. growers last year, making it the nation's highest ranked fresh market fruit in terms of total revenues. Processed and fresh tomatoes together account for $2 billion in sales annually. The USDA estimates Americans consume an average of 19 pounds of fresh tomatoes each year.
-end-
The Consortium was organized in response to an international call for more plant genome sequencing. Other U.S. partners include scientists from the Cornell University Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, Colorado State University and the University of Arizona at Tucson. The international team members were from Korea, China, the United Kingdom, India, the Netherlands, France, Japan, Spain, Italy, Israel, Belgium, Germany and Argentina.

The two new tomato sequences are reported in this week's issue of Nature. For information about the OU genomics team and its role in this international research project, please visit the OU Genome Center tomato sequencing web site at http://www.genome.ou.edu/tomato.html or contact Bruce Roe at broe@ou.edu.

University of Oklahoma

Related Genes Articles from Brightsurf:

Are male genes from Mars, female genes from Venus?
In a new paper in the PERSPECTIVES section of the journal Science, Melissa Wilson reviews current research into patterns of sex differences in gene expression across the genome, and highlights sampling biases in the human populations included in such studies.

New alcohol genes uncovered
Do you have what is known as problematic alcohol use?

How status sticks to genes
Life at the bottom of the social ladder may have long-term health effects that even upward mobility can't undo, according to new research in monkeys.

Symphony of genes
One of the most exciting discoveries in genome research was that the last common ancestor of all multicellular animals already possessed an extremely complex genome.

New genes out of nothing
One key question in evolutionary biology is how novel genes arise and develop.

Good genes
A team of scientists from NAU, Arizona State University, the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, the Center for Coastal Studies in Massachusetts and nine other institutions worldwide to study potential cancer suppression mechanisms in cetaceans, the mammalian group that includes whales, dolphins and porpoises.

How lifestyle affects our genes
In the past decade, knowledge of how lifestyle affects our genes, a research field called epigenetics, has grown exponentially.

Genes that regulate how much we dream
Sleep is known to allow animals to re-energize themselves and consolidate memories.

The genes are not to blame
Individualized dietary recommendations based on genetic information are currently a popular trend.

Timing is everything, to our genes
Salk scientists discover critical gene activity follows a biological clock, affecting diseases of the brain and body.

Read More: Genes News and Genes Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.