A consortium of 300 plant geneticists from 14 countries has spent the last nine years decoding the tomato genome in the hope of breeding better ones. Their results were finally published online Wednesday in the journal Nature.
The most amazing thing is that the tomato turns out to possess about 32,000 genes, some 7,000 more than a human being… According to the authors, this does not mean that tomatoes are more sophisticated than us, but that they have chosen a different way for managing their cells. Humans make heavy use of a technique called alternative splicing, which allows the components of each gene to be assembled in many different ways, so that one gene can produce many products.
The tomato genome is key to understanding all the Solanaceae family of plants to which it belongs. This family includes the tobacco plant, the potato, the pepper, the eggplant. Together, these vegetables are the second biggest food commodity after cereals. That is why the commercial impact of this discovery could be humongous, since very many tomatoes are genetically modified…
As far as I am concerned, I’ll continue to look forward to locally grown ancestral tomatoes 😉
Try some of our recipes that feature tomatoes: