By Megan Scudellari


Tom?to Tomäto

The paper:

N. Schauer et al., "Comprehensive metabolic profiling and phenotyping of interspecific introgression lines for tomato improvement," Nature Biotech, 24:447-54, 2006. (Cited in 51 papers)

The methods:

To explore the genetics behind tomato nutrition and taste, Alisdair Fernie of the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology and collaborators embarked on a study of tomato quantitative trait loci (QTL), stretches of DNA that underlie traits of interest. By back-crossing cultivated tomato lines with wild species, they created 76 introgression lines of fruit (ILs) harboring "wild" chromosome segments.

The results:

Analysis of the ILs resulted in identification of over 1,200 QTLs, many of which were related to valuable traits like carbohydrate content, plant weight, and seed number. "This was probably the first study of this scale," Fernie wrote in an E-mail, though applying the results to crop improvement can...



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