When tomatoes ripen in our gardens, we watch them turn gradually from hard, green globules to brightly colored, aromatic, and tasty fruits. This familiar and seemingly commonplace transformation masks a seething mass of components interacting in a well-regulated albeit highly complex manner. For generations, agriculturalists and scientists have bred tomatoes for size, shape, texture, flavor, shelf-life, and nutrient composition, more or less, one trait at a time. With the advent of molecular biology, mutagenesis and genetic transformation could produce tomatoes that were more easily harvested or transported or turned into tomato paste. Frequently, however, optimizing for one trait led to deterioration in another. For example, improving flavor could have a negative effect on yield.
The revolution in genomics, with a wealth of data emerging from sequencing and simultaneous expression analysis of thousands of genes, has made it possible to study the numerous pathways and regulatory networkssystems--that operate to produce a desirable fruit. This systems approach in the new fields of metabolic and functional genomics is producing the tools, information, and biological materials needed for screening and breeding efforts in tomato and other members of the Solanaceae.
Dr. Fernando Carrari and his colleagues, Laura Kamenetzky, Ramon Asis, Luisa Bermudez, Ariel Bazzini, Sebastian Asurmendi, Marie-Anne Van Sluys, Jim Giovannoni, Alisdair Fernie, and Magdalena Rossi use a systems approach that integrates genomic, genetic, and biochemical tools to model the metabolic networks that interact in the process of tomato fruit development. Dr. Carrari, of the Instituto de Biotecnologia, (INTA), Argentina, will be presenting this work at a symposium on the Biology of Solanaceous Species at the annual meeting of the American Society of Plant Biologists in Mrida, Mexico (June 29, 9:10 AM).
Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) is a member of the Solanaceae or
|Contact: Dr. Jim Giovannoni|
American Society of Plant Biologists