Submitted to: Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: November 30, 2000
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: This paper provides a brief review of tomato genetic resources and illustrates two areas wherein these resources have been utilized in tomato improvement, namely improvement of fruit nutritive value and resistance to fruit rot. Numerous color mutants which affect fruit carotenoid content have been identified in tomato and its wild relatives. We have characterized the inheritance of two genes influencing beta-carotene content and identified the location of these genes on the map of the tomato genome. We have developed markers for these genes which facilitate their introgression into adapted tomato lines. Beta-carotene is a pro-vitamin A caroentoid and an essential nutrient in the human diet. Anthracnose fruit rot is a serious disease of tomatoes grown for processing applications. Small-fruited, unadapted tomato relatives have been identified with high levels of resistance to anthracnose. Our laboratory has characterized the inheritance of the resistance and identified selectable markers for genes which influence resistance. Anthracnose resistance displays a complex mode of inheritance. These markers will assist plant geneticists in development of anthracnose resistant cultivars and reduce the need for chemical control of anthracnose.
Technical Abstract: Plant breeders have only begun to exploit the genetic diversity present in wild tomato relatives. It is likely that this germplasm will continue to be a source of valuable genes for tomato improvement. Integration of conventional and molecular technology have revealed a wealth of knowledge relevant to interspecific gene transfer in tomato and the nature of quantitatively inherited traits. Application of molecular genetic tools to tomato genetic improvement demonstrates the rapid progress which is possible with applicaton of new technologies. Further progress in tomato genetic improvement and our understanding of the molecular mechanisms regulating tomato disease resistance and fruit quality is anticipated due to intense research activity in bioinformatics and genomics.