Tomato Genome Fully Sequenced

Posted on May 31, 2012

The genome of the tomato, Solanum lycopersicum, has been decoded for the first time. The full genome sequence, as well as the sequence of a wild relative, was published here in the latest issue of the journal Nature. Specifically, the genome was sequenced from the "Heinz 1706" tomato.

To provide access to the gene sequences of the tomato and related species, Boyce Thompson Institute scientist Lukas Mueller and his team have created an interactive website for the tomato genome at

Researchers report that tomatoes possess some 35,000 genes arranged on 12 chromosomes. James Giovannoni, a scientist at the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, located on the campus of Cornell University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, lead the U.S. tomato sequencing team, which includes researchers at several institutions. The wild tomato (Solanum pimpinellifolium) genome sequence was developed at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

Giovannoni says, "For any characteristic of the tomato, whether it's taste, natural pest resistance or nutritional content, we've captured virtually all those genes. Tomato genetics underlies the potential for improved taste every home gardener knows and every supermarket shopper desires and the genome sequence will help solve this and many other issues in tomato production and quality."

The publication caps years of work by members of the Tomato Genomics Consortium, an international collaboration between Argentina, Belgium, China, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, South Korea, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States. In the United States, Boyce Thompson Institute scientists Zhangjun Fei and Joyce Van Eck contributed to the sequence and its analysis. Other U.S. institutions involved include Cornell University, Colorado State, University of Florida, University of Oklahoma, University of Georgia, University of Arizona, University of Delaware, Montana State, University of Tennessee, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and the USDA.

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