The oblong shape of some tomatoes arose from a gene duplication caused by a selfish genetic element, according to a linkurl:study;http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/319/5869/1527 published today in Science. Before tomatoes were linkurl:cultivated;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/54040/ and grown around the world, wild tomatoes were a little-known, small, round South American fruit. But go down to the market today and you'll find juicy, ripe tomatoes of all shapes and sizes. When you bite into some of the pear-shaped varieties, you are not just eating tomatoes with a longer shape; new research shows it also has slightly longer DNA owing to the duplication of the radiantly named gene sun. linkurl:Esther van der Knaap;http://oardc.osu.edu/vanderknaap/ of Ohio State University in Wooster has been hunting the source of the elongated shape for years. In 2001, she narrowed her search to a locus on the short arm of chromosome 7 (tomatoes have 12 chromosomes), and in 2004, she mapped the gene...
sunThe Scientistsunsunsuna snack of the oblong tomatoes
Interested in reading more?
Become a Member of
Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?