A researcher at the UPM is collaborating in the characterization of genetic resource of the tree tomato to enhance its cultivation and commercialization in Andean and Mediterranean countries.
The tree tomato has a high potential for Andean cultivation but it is currently not well-utilized. To preserve and enhance this cultivation, a researcher at the School of Agronomist of the UPM in collaboration with the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia and the Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja (Ecuador), have detailed the morphology and genetic diversity of tree tomato.
The tree tomato (Solanum betaceum or Cyphomandra betacea) can reach up three meters of height and belongs to the Solonaceae family, which is the same family of potato, tomato and aubergine. Its fruits are fleshy, oval or elliptic shaped and yellow, orange or purple color with a pleasant-tasting, slightly acidic, aromatic pulp, rich in vitamins and minerals.
As a result of this work and apart from publishing papers about morphological and genetic diversity of this fruit, researchers detailed a list of over 80 descriptors (morphology characters) to describe and to identify varieties and to identify plants and their features of agronomist interest. The morphological characters of the fruit are of special interest for the variability and heritability, what can open possibilities of plant breeders to obtain proper varieties to market needs. The 78 polymorphic DNA fragments found reveal that the presence of a wide genetic diversity giving researchers strong hopes for developing new varieties.
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