Tomato genome sequenced

08 June 2012
Posted by Kat Arney.

Genetically-inclined ketchup fans can rejoice this month, because the whole genome of the tomato - specifically the Heinz 1706 variety - has finally been sequenced and is published in the journal Nature. Known to biologists as Solanum lycopersicum, the tomato's genome holds clues to how the plants could be bred to have improved yields and disease or drought resistance, as well as better taste and colour.

The researchers, from the international Tomato Genomics Consortium, discovered that the plant has around 35,000 genes distributed across 12 chromosomes. Tomatoes are related to other fleshy fruits such as strawberries, apples, melons and bananas, so the information from their genomes could be useful for understanding more about some of the other juicy inhabitants of our fruit bowls.

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