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GLOBAL Genome sequenced, tomato
yield may look up 08-June 2012 The Indian Express View
Indian researchers, along with
those from 13 other countries have sequenced the genome of
the tomato and its wild ancestor Solanum pimpinellifolium.
The achievement, hopes the Department of Biotechnology that
funded the Indian leg of the research, will not only increase
yield and tackle the problem of perishability of the crop,
but also make it better suitable to combat pests.
Work on the tomato genome that featured 300 scientists
from around the world is the cover story in the current
issue of Nature. Indian scientists sequenced chromosome
five of the 12-chromosome vegetable. They have also taken
up analysis of specific genes/gene families related to ripening,
nutrition, disease resistance, and abiotic stress tolerance.
Delhi University, National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology,
Indian Agricultural Research Institute and the National
Institute of Plant Genome Research worked on the project.
“The new sequences are expected to provide reference points
helpful for identifying important genes in tomato’s relatives
like potato, pepper, eggplant and petunia. If we can tackle
the perishability of tomato, it would be a huge boon to
agriculture because almost half of the tomato we produce
is lost,” says Secretary, Biotechnology, Dr M K Bhan.
According to A K Tyagi, the coordinator for the initiative,
the genome contains 900 million bases. Indian scientists
have already started work on the wheat genome, which is
five times larger than the human genome, and also the chickpea
genome, Tyagi adds.
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