Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
AgriGenomics
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Discovery May Lead to Tomatoes with Vintage Taste

Published: Monday, July 02, 2012
Last Updated: Monday, July 02, 2012
Bookmark and Share
A new discovery could make more tomatoes taste like heirlooms, reports an international research team.

The finding, which will be reported in the June 29 issue of the journal Science, has significant implications for the U.S. tomato industry, which annually harvests more than 15 million tons of the fruit for processing and fresh-market sales.

“This information about the gene responsible for the trait in wild and traditional varieties provides a strategy to recapture quality characteristics that had been unknowingly bred out of modern cultivated tomatoes,” said Ann Powell, a biochemist in UC Davis’ Department of Plant Sciences and one of the lead authors of the study.

“Now that we know that some of the qualities that people value in heirloom tomatoes can be made available in other types of tomatoes, farmers can have access to more varieties of tomatoes that produce well and also have desirable color and flavor traits,” she said.

For decades, plant breeders in the tomato industry have selected varieties that are uniformly light green before they ripen, in order to produce tomatoes that can be harvested at the same time.

However, this characteristic is accompanied by an unintended reduction in sugars that compromises the flavor of the fresh fruit and its desirability for processing.

Powell’s UC Davis research team began studying the genes influencing tomato fruit development and ripening after spending two summers screening tomato plants for transcription factors that might play a role in both fruit color and quality. Transcription factors are proteins that regulate genes, or turn them on and off. These factors themselves are manufactured or expressed by genes.

The UC Davis researchers were particularly interested in tomatoes they observed in the field that were unusually dark green before they ripened.

Partnering with researchers at Cornell University and in Spain, who were mapping regions of the tomato genome, the scientists discovered two transcription factors, called GLK1 and GLK2, that control the development of chloroplasts. Chloroplasts are the structures in the plant cells that enable plants to photosynthesize, converting the energy of sunlight into sugars and other compounds that influence flavor and color.

The researchers scoured a collection of mutant and wild species of tomatoes at UC Davis established at UC Davis by the late Professor Charles Rick beginning in the 1950s. They discovered that dark green tomatoes that naturally express GLK2 produced ripe fruit with increased levels of sugars or soluble solids, important for processing tomatoes, as well as higher levels of the health-promoting compound lycopene.

“Nature presents numerous important genes and their variants, like uniform ripening, that breeders employ to facilitate the needs of growers, processors and consumers,” said Jim Giovannoni, a USDA plant molecular biologist with the Boyce Thompson Institute at Cornell University. “Understanding the genes responsible for these characteristics facilitates the challenging process of breeding crops that meet the needs of all components of the food-supply chain.”

Cuong Nguyen, a Cornell graduate student in Giovannoni’s laboratory co-authored the paper with Powell. Other members of the research team included: Theresa Hill, KaLai Lam Cheng, Rosa Figueroa-Balderas, Hakan Aktas, Hamid Ashrafi, Ariel Vicente, Javier Lopez-Baltazar, Roger Chetelat, Allen Van Deynze and Alan Bennett, all of UC Davis; Yongsheng Liu and Cornelius Barry of Cornell  University and the Boyce Thompson Institute of the USDA; Clara Pons and Antonio Granell, of the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, Spain; Rafael Fernández-Muñoz of the Universidad de Málaga, Spain.

Funding for the study was provided by The University of California Discovery program, the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, the National Science Foundation, the Viet Nam Education Foundation, the Fundación Genoma España, and the Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnología and the Instituto Tecnólogico de Costa Rica.

UC Davis is an international leader in agricultural research and is ranked as the most frequently cited university in the world in the area of plant and animal sciences, according to ISI Essential Science Indicators. The university’s Department of Plant Sciences is internationally known for its Plant Breeding Academy, which provides professional training for plant breeders around the world.


Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,400+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,700+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Industry-Sponsored Academic Inventions Spur Increased Innovation
Analysis questions assumption that corporate support skews science toward inventions that are less useful than those funded by the government or non-profit organizations.
Monday, March 24, 2014
International Fruit Pest Targeted by Genomic Research
The spotted wing drosophila is itself being targeted, thanks to groundbreaking genome sequencing.
Friday, December 06, 2013
DNA Sequencing Lifts Veil on Wine’s Microbial Terroir
It’s widely accepted that terroir — the unique blend of a vineyard’s soils, water and climate — sculpts the flavor and quality of wine.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Grapevine Virus Screening Saves Napa-Sonoma $60M
Providing disease-free grapevines and rootstock to California’s famed North Coast wine region is money-wise to the tune of more than $60 million annually.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
New Cattle Virus Identified by Genome Sequencing
A new cow virus that causes neurologic symptoms reminiscent of mad cow disease has been identified and its genome sequenced by a team of researchers.
Thursday, August 15, 2013
More Accurate Model of Climate Change’s Effect on Soil
Scientists have developed a new computer model to measure global warming's effect in soil worldwide that accounts for how bacteria and fungi in soil control carbon.
Friday, August 02, 2013
Predicting how Insects, Plants Interact
Butterfly and moth larvae feeding on native plants will extend their diet to newly introduced non-native plants, but which ones?
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Gene Discovery May Halt Disease that Threatens Wheat
Researchers have identified a gene that enables resistance to a new race, or strain, of stem rust, a disease threatening global food security.
Monday, July 01, 2013
Reforms Could Boost Use of Land Conservation Banks
California legislators have enacted the state's first conservation banking law, based on a pioneering program launched 18 years ago.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Genome of Lotus May Hold Anti-Aging Secrets
The "sacred lotus" is believed to have a powerful genetic system that repairs genetic defects.
Monday, May 13, 2013
Scientists Find Compounds that Boost Oil Output of Algae
Chemists have found several compounds that can boost oil production by green microscopic algae, a potential source of biodiesel and other "green" fuels.
Tuesday, April 09, 2013
Conference Sets Agenda for Climate-smart Ag Research
An action-oriented scientific agenda for tackling global climate change and its impacts on agriculture emerged from the international, three-day Climate-Smart Agriculture Conference.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Study Reveals Genetic Diversity of Genes in Peppers
Researchers have developed a “family tree” of sorts for peppers and characterized the diversity of genes found in a collection of common cultivated pepper varieties.
Monday, February 18, 2013
Farmers and Environment Profit from New Website
University of California Cooperative Extension is rolling out a new website for farmers that will help them save money and protect the environment.
Friday, February 01, 2013
Beyond Manifesto: How to Change the Food System
Mark Bittman used the occasion of New Year’s Day to throw down the gauntlet for real and permanent change to the U.S. agricultural system.
Friday, January 11, 2013
Scientific News
New Technique for Mining Health-conferring Soy Compounds
A new procedure devised by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists to extract lunasin from soybean seeds could expedite further studies of this peptide for its cancer-fighting potential and other health benefits.
Rice Disease-Resistance Discovery Closes the Loop for Scientific Integrity
Researchers reveal how disease resistant rice detects and responds to bacterial infections.
Pesticide Found in 70 Percent of Massachusetts’ Honey Samples
New Harvard University study says that the pesticide commonly found in honey samples is implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder.
Oxitec ‘Self-Limiting Gene’ Offers Hope for Controlling Invasive Moth
A new pesticide-free and environmentally-friendly way to control insect pests has moved ahead with the publication of results showing that Oxitec diamondback moths (DBM) with a ‘self-limiting gene’ can dramatically reduce populations of DBM.
More Rice, Less Greenhouse Gas?
An international group from China, Sweden and the U.S. has unveiled a genetically modified super rice that has more starch, yet releases a fraction of the harmful gas methane.
Kiwi Bird Genome Sequenced
The kiwi, national symbol of New Zealand, gives insights into the evolution of nocturnal animals.
Yeast Cells Use Signaling Pathway to Modify Their Genomes
Researchers at the Babraham Institute and Cambridge Systems Biology Centre, University of Cambridge have shown that yeast can modify their genomes to take advantage of an excess of calories in the environment and attain optimal growth.
Faster, Better, Cheaper: a New Method to Generate Extended Data for Genome Assemblies
The Genome Analysis Centre have developed a new library construction method for genome sequencing that can simultaneously construct up to 12 size-selected long mate pair (LMP) or ‘jump’ libraries ranging in sizes from 1.7kb to 18kb with reduced DNA input, time and cost.
New Research Advances Genetic Studies in Wildlife Conservation
‘Next-gen’ DNA sequencing of non-invasively collected hair expands field of conservation genetics.
Fossil Fuel Emissions will Complicate Radiocarbon Dating, Warns Scientist
The paper is published in the journal PNAS.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,400+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,700+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!