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Tomatoes for processing in the 90s: genetics and breeding


, : Tomatoes for processing in the 90s: genetics and breeding. Acta Horticulturae ( 227): 31-38

The tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) has been a model crop for genetic and plant breeding research. Genetic information developed during the past 5 decades has played a vital role in varietal improvements which have facilitated crop culture and management and contributed to dramatic increases in yield. Despite these improvements, only a fraction of the total genetic variation which is available in the extensive collections of the genus Lycopersicon has been sampled and used for tomato improvement. The vast genetic resources for fruit quality and tolerance to pest and environmental stresses found in the wild relatives of the tomato offer broad opportunities for further genetic improvement of this species. The tomato has also recently been identified as a model species for biotechnology and genetic engineering research. These evolving "new technologies" will undoubtedly provide useful new tools to further enhance our understanding of this crop and expedite its improvement. Varietal improvements resulting from these new technologies will probably be "evolutionary" rather than "revolutionary" and closely linked with traditional plant breeding. In the short term, these new technologies will involve simply inherited traits; classical plant breeding will continue to be the method of choice for complex adaptive traits. The recent increase in the use of F1 hybrids will probably continue and be encouraged by the use of male sterility to facilitate hybrid seed production. Diverse and broadly based improvement programs with close international cooperation and exchange will expediate future genetic improvement of this crop.

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