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Is there a limit to tomato yield?

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Cambridge Partnership in Plant Sciences Seminar

Plant breeders are being challenged to push yield barriers of crop plants in a sustainable way. For 25 years our lab has been using processing tomatoes (for ketchup production) as a model-mechanized crop in marker assisted breeding. Improved yield QTL were identified in a wide genetic base of interspecific introgression lines, a saturated mutant library, a core collection of ~8000 tomato accessions and inbred parents derived from commercial hybrids. Recessive, additive, dominant and overdominant (heterotic) QTL and genes are being implemented in our breeding and gave rise to the variety AB2 , which was a leader in California for five years due to its high sugar yield per unit area. AB2 constitutes the first example of QTL coming from agriculturally unadapted species that boosts yield in the marketplace. All processing tomatoes are F1 hybrids and thus we are naturally focused on genes that drive heterosis. Using mutant heterozygotes we identified a number of heterotic genes that increase tomato yield per unit area by up to 50%. All the lab data is uploaded in Phenom Networks (, which is a web2 breeding platform for analysis and display of knowledge of ontology defined phenotypes. The opportunity to slice up the phenom in its different dimensions combined with a genome sequence is fertile ground for sustainability in biological discoveries and ketchup flow.

This talk is part of the Plant Sciences Departmental Seminars series.

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