Solanum lycopersicum (Tomato) Genome Sequenced

“Tomato genome sequence bears fruits”- Today June 02, 2012, this is one of the most important day in the world of Genetic Engg, since scientists have sequenced the genome of one more living organism- Solanum lycopersicum, in common language, the Tomato.
            The genome sequence of the world’s highest valued salad plants, is deciphered by an international group of scientists, and is published in Nature. This fruit is produced in 146 million tonnes globally per year.

What do the leaders say about this?
            According to the leaders of Tomato Genome Consortium, UK, Tomatoes have triplicated their genome thrice in past hundred million years. The sequence will make precision breeding possible not only in tomatoes, but also in Solanaceae family. There is a hope that this genome will help in the development of tomatoes that survive pests, resistance to pathogens, climate change and will also improve the quality of fruit.
            “Its all about making a better tomato, which involves a lot of things that were not possible before”, says Allen Van Deynze, a molecular geneticist at the Seed Biotechnology Centre, UC Davis. More than 90% of the genes have been identified for tomato today.

About the genome.
            Usually plant genomes are more likely to be complicated than animals. Tomato genome is only one quarter of the human genome, around 900 megabases, 35K genes, over 12 chromosomes. But even for this, it took more than a decade to decode this genome. Started in 2003, about 300 scientists from 90 institutes across 14 countries were involved in this work.

Why Genome Sequencing is important?
            In Biology, it is important to know the molecular pathways that help any organism to function. Almost all of them are controlled by genes, so it is of utmost importance to know what genes are responsible for different functions. The genome helps the plant breeders to make perfect crosses between variants with desirable traits. So this breeding will help to create products which are disease resistant and more tolerable. Also the quality and quantity of the products can be improved. It is also very difficult to know what genes are responsible for traits and specially on which chromosomes are these genes located. But today’s molecular tools and latest knowledge on sequencing helps to avoid these problems and makes way for the genome sequencing to be possible.

B-Tech Genetic Engineering.