Submitted to: Acta Horticulturae
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/27/2005
Publication Date: 8/1/2005
Citation: Giovannoni, J.J., El-Rakshy, S. 2005. Genetic regulation of tomato fruit ripening and development and implementation of associated genomics tools. Acta Horticulturae. 682:63-72. Interpretive Summary: Recent advances in ripening research have led to discoveries concerning regulatory mechanisms preceding ethylene and which may represent evolutionary conserved ripening functions. The advent of genomics technologies including genome sequencing and their development in horticultural models such as tomato will likely accelerate discovery in ripening and other areas in the near future, providing new opportunities for both young and established researchers. The continued study of additional fruit systems will insure that insights developed in models such as tomato can be translated into a broad range of fruit crops for maximum benefit to producers and consumers.
Technical Abstract: Fruit ripening has direct implications to a significant component of human diets, nutrition and agriculture. While ripening brings about positive changes in fruit physiology and chemistry in terms of flavor, appearance, texture and nutrition, over-ripening leads to post-harvest loss and decreased fruit quality. Researchers have studied numerous species with the intent of identifying strategies and technologies toward improving desirable ripening attributes while minimizing those with negative consequences. Tomato has emerged as a model for fleshy fruit ripening, in part due to simple genetics, numerous characterized mutants, cross-fertile wild germplasm to facilitate genetic studies and routine transformation technology. In recent years, the tomato system has been further complemented with dense genetic maps, large EST collections and the recently initiated genome sequencing effort. Here we summarize recent advances in understanding the genetic regulation of fruit ripening and current and developing genomics tools that will impact this model system in the coming decade.