Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Tomato Trek Yields Chilean Treasure

Hearty tomato soup, rich and piping hot, makes a cheery mid-afternoon snack on acold winter's day. Tomorrow, superb tomatoes for full-bodied soups or perhapsfor salads of crisp greens may owe some of their pedigree to the rarest ofChile's wild tomatoes.

Plant explorers funded by the Agricultural Research Service--the U.S. Departmentof Agriculture's chief scientific research agency--collected seed from tomatorelatives in a 14-day trek earlier this year through 2,379 miles of Chileancountryside.

The expedition, which took them from rugged coastal expanses to 12,000-foot-highreaches of the Andes, followed up on an equally arduous 2001 search. Bothexplorations yielded prized seed that will fill gaps in the C.M. Rick TomatoGenetics Resource Center's premier collection of the domesticated tomato's wild,rare and unusual relatives from Chile and elsewhere in South America--tomato'sancestral home.

Center director Roger T. Chetelat at the University of California-Davisorganized the journey with colleagues from that campus and the University ofChile-Santiago. The Davis center is part of a nationwide network of ARS-funded genebanks thatsafeguard relatives of crop plants, ensuring that the natural richness anddiversity of their genetic makeup, or gene pool, isn't lost.

The Chilean specimens of Lycopersicon chilense, L. peruvianum, Solanum sitiens,and S. lycopersicoides that the scientists collected as seed bear bright-yellowor yellow-white flowers. The plants' petite green tomatoes, smaller than atypical cherry tomato, are unappetizing except to grazers like llamas, alpacas,vicuñas, guanacos, goats or sheep--or to certain insects.

The hardy plants may harbor valuable genes not found in other Chilean specimensat Davis. Those genes may enrich the nutritional value of tomorrow's supermarketand backyard garden tomatoes, L. esculentum, or perhaps boost resistance to itsformidable insect and disease enemies.

Now, at Davis, plants are being grown from the wild tomato seed, so scientistscan further investigate tomato's genetic diversity and can provide seed samples to other researchers and tomato breeders worldwide.


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AGRI-INFO/JANUARY 10, 2006



TITLE: EXPLORERS FOUND THE RAREST WILD TOMATOES OF CHILE

ALAM BA NINYO NA NATUKLASAN NG MGA AGRI-EXPERT ANG MAITUTURING NA PINAKA-PAMBIHIRANG URI NG KAMATIS O WILD TOMATO SA BANSANG CHILE?

ANG PAMBIHIRANG KAMATIS NA ITO AY NATAGPUAN PA SA PINAKAMATAAS NA 12-TALAMPAKANG BAHAGI NG ANDES NA NAKATULONG NG MALAKI PARA MAPUNAN ANG ANUMANG GAP SA C.M. RICK TOMATO GENETICS RESOURCE CENTER COLLECTION NG DOMESTICATED TOMATO WILD, RARE AT UNUSUAL RELATIVES MULA SA BANSANG CHILE MAGING SA IBA PANG BAHAGI NG SOUTH AMERICA.

ANG MGA URI NG KAMATIS NA KASALUKUYANG ISINASAILALIM SA EKSPERIMENTO AYANG LYCOPERSICON CHILENSE, L. PERUVIANUM, SOLANUM SITIENS, AT S. LYCOPERSICOIDES.

NGUNIT ANG MALILIIT NA KULAY BERDENG KAMATIS, MAS MALIIT PA SA KARANIWANG CHERRY TOMATO AY MAITUTURING NAMANG UNAPPETIZING MALIBAN LAMANG SA MGA HAYOP TULAD NG LLAMAS, ALPACAS, VICUNIAS, GUANACOS, KAMBING AT KARNERO, AT MAGING SA ILA NG INSEKTO.

HANGGANG NGAYON AY PATULOY PA RIN ANG PANANALIKSIK NA GINAGAWA NG MGA EKSPERTO PARA SA MGA URING ITO NG KAMATIS PARTIKULAR NA SA GENETIC DIVERSITY NGUNIT ISINASAALANG-ALANG ANG PANGUNAHING LAYUNIN NA MATIYAK NA ANG MGA URI NG KAMATIS NA KAPAKI-PAKINABANG AY MATIBAY SA ATAKE NG ANUMANG PESTE O SAKIT.

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