Plants produce an immense variety of chemical compounds for growth, metabolism, signaling, defense, and reproduction. These metabolites function in complex networks and pathways in which they regulate and are regulated by parallel networks of genes. It is not possible to realistically model these metabolic systems one compound or gene at a time. Moreover, many, if not most traits in tomato, are not the result of one gene, but of many genes located together in chromosomal regions called quantitative trait loci (QTLs), because they produce a range of values in fruit or plant size or color, rather than just two extremes. Thus metabolites, enzymes, and genes must be analyzed simultaneously and in parallel in order to capture their dynamic relationships. To accomplish this, Carrari and his colleagues made use of the high genetic diversity of an ancestral tomato species, Solanum pennellii.
Through crosses, chromosomal segments of S. pennellii were introgressed into the genome of the cultivar Solanum lycopersicum var. Roma. Different lines of the cultivar were then created that differed only in the chromosomal segment received from the wild species. In this way, over 1200 metabolic QTLs or quantitative metabolic loci (QMLs) were identified and analyzed. Almost 900 of th
|Contact: Dr. Jim Giovannoni|
American Society of Plant Biologists