Developing Better Tomatoes
Tom8toes is now a tomato research and development group, focused on breeding vigorous, productive, great tasting tomatoes with improved pest and disease resistance. Our goal is to make the 'cardboard' tomatoes found in most supermarkets and restaurants today a thing of the past. Currently we're working with an outstanding group of tomatoes from Hawaii, some of the classic commercial cultivars from the 30's and 40's, and a large group of wild species.
Please note this website is a work in progress. We're adding and improving the site daily with new seeds and information. We have a lot of very interesting seeds to add.
If you wish to make a comment, or ask a question, or have a suggestion, call or text me (Gary) at (808) 756-5866. Feedback helps everyone, so fire away.
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seeds organically, but we're not certified. Prices are negotable.
An Overview Of The Current Status of Tomatoes
The Solanaceae or nightshade family consists of more than 3000 species with great diversity in terms of habit, habitat and morphology. Its species occur worldwide, and range from large forest trees in wet rain forests to annual herbs in deserts Solanum is the largest genus in the family, and includes tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) and various other species of economic importance. Tomato breeding over recent decades has focused on higher productivity and adaption to different cultivation systems. Its economic success is reflected by the fact that, on a global scale, tomato is one of the most important vegetable crops, with a worldwide production of 177 million tons covering some 11,000,000 acres. However, domestication of tomato is clearly distinct from the species divergence by natural selection as a consequence of selecting for a limited set of traits, including fruit shape and size. As a result, its genetic basis has been seriously narrowed, known as the ‘domestication syndrome’. In more recent times, tomato has been adapted to different growing systems by adjustment of a small number of traits, including self‐pruning, plant height, earliness, fruit morphology and fruit color. The relative small genetic variation became apparent in the face of rapidly changing environmental conditions, competing claims for arable lands, and new consumer requests. These challenges have pushed tomato breeding efforts towards better biotic and abiotic stress tolerance, higher productivity, and increased sensory and nutritional value. However, the reduced genetic variation that resulted from extensive inbreeding has decelerated tomato crop improvement. To enlarge the genetic basis, breeders now focus on introgression of desirable genes from wild relatives into the elite cultivars, but so far, this has been quite limited.
The first step of introgressive hybridization involves crosses of the cultivated tomato with heirloom species, wild relatives or more distant species of the tomato clade. Introgression breeding is possible as cultivated tomato and related wild species are intra‐crossable, and most of wild species are also inter‐crossable despite the fact that diverse mating systems have evolved, varying from allogamous self‐incompatible (SI) and facultative allogamous, to autogamous self‐compatible (SC). Especially at the geographic margins of the distributions, inter‐species changes in incompatibility systems that promote inbreeding over out‐crossing have been documented. Species boundaries and genetic diversity have been extensively studied in tomato using a wide range of molecular data . For example, RFLP analysis showed that genetic diversity for SI species far exceeds that of SC species, estimated at 75% versus 7%. Furthermore, ‘within‐accession’ genetic variation was estimated at 10% of the ‘between‐accession’ variation, in contrast to the genetic variation of the modern cultivars, which was estimated at <5%. This further illustrates the dramatic erosion of genetic diversity in cultivated tomato crops.
Selection of crossing parents for inter‐specific hybridization requires insight into phylogenetic relationships for the tomato clade, but trees based on morphological and molecular data have not been undisputed. Four informal species groups have been proposed for the tomato clade (Lycopersicon, Arcanum, Eriopersicon and Neolycopersicon), which are thought to have evolved from the most recent common ancestor approximately 7 million years ago. Despite these studies, evolutionary relationships between the 13 species in the Lycopersicon clade have not been fully resolved; for example, the dichotomy between Solanum pennellii and Solanum habrochaites . The evolutionary history of Solanum genomes has also been investigated from the perspective of chromosome organization. The study by Szinay involving cross‐species BAC FISH painting of Solanum species revealed few large rearrangements in the short arm euchromatin of chromosomes 6, 7 and 12, whereas Anderson demonstrated pairing loops, multivalents and kinetochore shifts in synaptonemal complex spreads of hybrids between members of the tomato clade, suggesting paracentric and pericentric inversions and translocations between the homeologous chromosomes. Furthermore, comparative genomics suggest a Solanum genome landscape in which chromosome evolution for the majority of the 12 chromosomes has been far more dynamic than currently appreciated. Collectively, these findings demonstrate that evolutionary relationships among the wild relatives should be considered provisional.
Genetic Diversity in TomatoesResearch into wild tomatoes indicates there is a considerable amount of genetic diversity in the tomato family, an untapped, unused resource of potential value, given the 'common' cultivated tomatoes only uses less than 5% of that diversity. Further, it is estimated that S. peruvianum has more genetic diversity than all the other species combined. Interestingly, S. peruvianum has been used primarily for providing disease resistance.
Wild Tomato Species
Former specific names are cited if they have significantly changed since moving to Solanum:
Arcanum group Solanum arcanum (= Lycopersicon peruvianum var. humifusum)
Solanum neorickii (= Lycopersicon parviflorum )
Lycopersicon group Solanum cheesmaniae (= Lycopersicon peruvianum var. parviflorum)
Solanum galapagense (= Lycopersicon cheesmaniae var. minor)
Solanum lycopersicum (= Lycopersicon cerasiforme, L. lycopersicum)
Solanum pimpinellifolium (= Lycopersicon esculentum ssp. pimpinellifolium)
Eriopersicon group Solanum chilense
Solanum corneliomulleri (= Lycopersicon glandulosum)
Solanum habrochaites (= Lycopersicon hirsutum Dunal)
Neolycopersicon group Solanum pennellii