Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tomato Trek Yields Chilean Treasure

Date:
January 5, 2006
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
Hearty tomato soup, rich and piping hot, makes a cheery mid-afternoon snack on a cold winter's day. Tomorrow, superb tomatoes for full-bodied soups or perhaps for salads of crisp greens may owe some of their pedigree to the rarest of Chile's wild tomatoes. Plant explorers funded by the Agricultural Research Service—the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency—collected seed from tomato relatives in a 14-day trek earlier this year through 2,379 miles of Chilean countryside.

Unique, genetically diverse wild tomatoes such as this Lycopersicon chilense from Chile are now preserved at a California genebank.
Credit: Image courtesy Carl M. Jones, University of California-Davis

Hearty tomato soup, rich and piping hot, makes a cheery mid-afternoon snack on a cold winter's day. Tomorrow, superb tomatoes for full-bodied soups or perhaps for salads of crisp greens may owe some of their pedigree to the rarest of Chile's wild tomatoes.

Plant explorers funded by the Agricultural Research Service—the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency—collected seed from tomato relatives in a 14-day trek earlier this year through 2,379 miles of Chilean countryside.

The expedition, which took them from rugged coastal expanses to 12,000-foot-high reaches of the Andes, followed up on an equally arduous 2001 search. Both explorations yielded prized seed that will fill gaps in the C.M. Rick Tomato Genetics Resource Center's premier collection of the domesticated tomato's wild, rare and unusual relatives from Chile and elsewhere in South America—tomato's ancestral home.

Center director Roger T. Chetelat at the University of California-Davis organized the journey with colleagues from that campus and the University of Chile-Santiago.

The Davis center is part of a nationwide network of ARS-funded genebanks that safeguard relatives of crop plants, ensuring that the natural richness and diversity of their genetic makeup, or gene pool, isn't lost.

The Chilean specimens of Lycopersicon chilense, L. peruvianum, Solanum sitiens, and S. lycopersicoides that the scientists collected as seed bear bright-yellow or yellow-white flowers. The plants' petite green tomatoes, smaller than a typical cherry tomato, are unappetizing except to grazers like llamas, alpacas, vicuρas, guanacos, goats or sheep--or to certain insects.

The hardy plants may harbor valuable genes not found in other Chilean specimens at Davis. Those genes may enrich the nutritional value of tomorrow's supermarket and backyard garden tomatoes, L. esculentum, or perhaps boost resistance to its formidable insect and disease enemies.

Now, at Davis, plants are being grown from the wild tomato seed, so scientists can further investigate tomato's genetic diversity and can provide seed samples to other researchers and tomato breeders worldwide.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Tomato Trek Yields Chilean Treasure." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 January 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/01/060103190451.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2006, January 5). Tomato Trek Yields Chilean Treasure. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/01/060103190451.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Tomato Trek Yields Chilean Treasure." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/01/060103190451.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cat Lovers Flock to Los Angeles

Cat Lovers Flock to Los Angeles

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) — The best funny internet cat videos are honoured at LA's Feline Film Festival. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Washed-Up 'Alien Hairballs' Are Actually Algae

Washed-Up 'Alien Hairballs' Are Actually Algae

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) — Green balls of algae washed up on Sydney, Australia's Dee Why Beach. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) — The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) — Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins