What TomGEM is about
The vision of TomGEM is to design new tomato varieties as well as innovative breeding and management practices which deliver high yields and good fruit quality under high temperature conditions. TomGEM considers all developmental factors contributing to yield - genotypes, environmental conditions and breeding practices – as well as the interactions between them. Hence, TomGEM offers holistic solutions to the challenge of increasing food quality and productivity in the face of climate change.
TomGEM receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme with a total budget of € 5.6 million and has a duration of four years starting from 1 March 2016.
TomGEM focuses on the analysis of tomato germplasm collections to identify genotypes that could be used to achieve high yield performance in harsh temperature conditions without suffering any quality loss. The main objectives of TomGEM are:
- Objective 1:
To select superior genotypes of tomatoes in terms of fruit set, pollen fertility, flower initiation, yield stability and fruit quality under heat stress conditions.
- Objective 2:
To identify genetic variations and gene sequences associated with heat tolerance of fruit yield.
- Objective 3:
To set up optimal growing conditions for the selected genotypes to further improve their ability to set fruit under high temperature conditions.
- Objective 4:
To design innovative breeding and management strategies for a broad range of geographical conditions, ensuring high yield at high temperatures with no loss in terms of fruit quality.
After four years TomGEM is expected to deliver the following outputs and results:
- In depth evaluation of the rich tomato germplasm pool including heat tolerant wild relatives of tomatoes.
- Identification of the most suitable genotypes for their ability to maintain high yield in hot climates. The selected genotypes will directly be used by the tomato producer associations and breeding companies involved in the project.
- Newly gained knowledge of the complex plant-environment interactions and of suitable combinations of genotypes, breeding practices and management practices. This will be disseminated through publications, conferences and workshops designed by academics and private stakeholders.
- Novel breeding strategies and tools for the discovery of genotypes and genetic markers associated to heat tolerance, increased ability of flowering, pollen germination and fertility, fruit set and fruit quality that will be transferred to the dynamic breeding sector.
- Ultimately, TomGEM will provide new improved tomato varieties and management strategies, increasing the tomato diversity and thus allowing higher adaptability to particular environments including a changing climate.