Genetic difference between tomato and potato only 8%


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Fresh Plaza : Recent research has demonstrated that tomatoes and potatoes are 92% similar to each other in terms of genetics. The scientists behind the studies also discovered that tomato is closely related, in genetic terms, to strawberries, apples, melons and other fleshy fruits. The decoded genome of the tomato is an important step towards improving yield, nutrition, disease resistance, taste and colour of tomato and other
crops, scientis-ts said. "The genetic divergence between tomato and potato is only 8 percent. There are only about 500 genes specific to tomato," explained Dr Akhilesh Kumar Tyagi, Director, National Institute of Plant Genome Research, one of the three Indian members of the international tomato consortium. Though potato is a tuber and tomato a fruit, they belong to the same family - Solanaceae. "The similarities between the two relate to genes that control important traits like disease resistance and metabolism," explained Dr Tyagi. Comparisons between genomes of wild and cultivated varieties showed the difference was less than one per cent, though many changes have occurred since domestication of the wild tomato and the intensive breeding that followed. In fact, wild tomato is very small, almost the size of a pea. Consortium researchers report that tomatoes possess close to 35,000 genes arranged on 12 chromosomes. "For any characteristic of the tomato, whether it's taste, natural pest resistance or nutritional content, we've captured virtually all those genes," said James Giovannoni of Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, who led the 14-country consortium that started the project in 2003. Source: Fresh Plaza
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