Tomato: a crop species amenable to improvement by cellular and molecular methods

Jacques Hille, Maarten Koornneef, M.S. Ramanna, Pim Zabel

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Tomato is a crop plant with a relatively small DNA content per haploid genome and a well developed genetics. Plant regeneration from explants and protoplasts is feasable which led to the development of efficient transformation procedures. In view of the current data, the isolation of useful mutants at the cellular level probably will be of limited value in the genetic improvement of tomato. Protoplast fusion may lead to novel combinations of organelle and nuclear DNA (cybrids), whereas this technique also provides a means of introducing genetic information from alien species into tomato. Important developments have come from molecular approaches. Following the construction of an RFLP map, these RFLP markers can be used in tomato to tag quantitative traits bred in from related species. Both RFLP's and transposons are in the process of being used to clone desired genes for which no gene products are known. Cloned genes can be introduced and potentially improve specific properties of tomato especially those controlled by single genes. Recent results suggest that, in principle, phenotypic mutants can be created for cloned and characterized genes and will prove their value in further improving the cultivated tomato.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1989


  • transposons
  • restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLP's)
  • protoplast fusion
  • genetic transformation
  • tomato
  • Lycopersicon esculentum

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