By Ep Heuvelink
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Extra info for Tomatoes
Breeding and selection have been used to improve these traits. In addition, volatiles are also involved in ﬂavour. Breeding for volatiles has not yet been performed, as much less is known about the relation between ﬂavour and aroma and these volatiles. Moreover, expensive measurements are necessary to determine the amount of these compounds in plants, hampering the screening of material and populations. In ripening tomato fruit, approximately 400 different volatile compounds have been observed.
In greenhouses in northern countries, tomatoes are grown year-round and the plants produce marketable fruits from March until November. In recent decades the fruit type has shifted from a uniform size and shape to a wide spectrum of different types, such as cherry, thrush, yellow, beef, pink, orange, pear-shaped, long shelf-life tomatoes and so on. This has put a great constraint on the breeders who breed cultivars for all these markets. However, large variations for these traits are present in the Lycopersicon germplasm and so breeding for alternative types remains feasible.
For example, the small-fruited wild species L. pimpinellifolium has genes that increase the fruit size when these genes are introgressed into a cultivated tomato background. A series of papers from Steven Tanksley describes the method of using advanced backcross lines to detect and transfer such variation (Monforte and Tanksley, 2000, and references therein). CYTOGENETICS Investigations into tomato cytogenetics were initiated at the beginning of the 20th century, when the genetic constitution of the tomato was determined: it has a diploid genome with 12 chromosome pairs and a nuclear genome DNA content of about 900 Mb.