TomGEM Kick-off Meeting 2016

The TomGEM Kick-off meeting was organised from 11th-13th May 2016 together with the G2P-SOL consortium in Valencia (Spain) to foster networking and discuss potential interaction between the two initiatives. Both projects examine the genetic diversity of solanaceous crops with the aim of identifying and breeding varieties with more suitable traits.

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The main outcomes of the project are the superior genotypes in terms of tolerance to heat stress and yield stability, but also new genes and new markers that will help the tomato breeders to create new tomato varieties and cultivars that are better suited to high temperature conditions.

Prof. Mondher Bouzayen, TomGEM coordinator

As a young scientist within TomGEM, I had the opportunity to collaborate with lead scientists in the field and to have early access to the new technologies. I extended my academic skills and was able to build on my previous experience. Working in a H2020 project gave me the opportunity to work at different stages of translational research: to work on fundamental, basic research but also at the end of the process, where we are evaluating products that are very close to go to the market.

Dr Juliana Almeida

As a breeding company within the consortium, ENZA ZADEN can provide a very practical point of view as we are in regular contact with the tomato growers and consumers. TomGEM already identified genomic regions that are associated with heat tolerance. Now, we can include those genomic regions into our breeding programme, trying to develop tomato varieties tolerant to heat stress. In the frame of climate change, having varieties that are adapted to high temperature will be a benefit for the tomato growers as production can be maintained and the final consumer will be able to find tomato in a normal situation.

Dr David Gil

As a postdoctoral scientist at the John Innes Centre, I’m working on tomato fruit quality. I tested different tomato genotypes in different fields over three years in order to identify the best ones. After my analysis, I found a particular genotype that has a higher vitamin C content and a good shelf life as well, which made me very happy. For younger scientists, European projects are very beneficial. It is not only possible to meet lead scientists from all over the world and to collaborate with them, but also to grow professionally and personally.

Dr Antonietta Aliberti

Within TomGEM, Alma Seges looked for agronomical practices that could best express the potential of heat tolerant tomato genotypes. We used the “whitening” technique, antiperspirants, bio stimulants and mycorrhizae. The advantage for the producers is that our results rely on real scientific research, unaffected by the promotion and marketing of certain products or tomato varieties. As small agricultural producers, it makes us proud to be part of such an international environment with scientists from all over the world.

Dr Carlo Schettini

Further Interviews 2016

  • TomGEM addresses yield stability in high temperature conditions with the aim to produce or yield superior genotypes that are better adapted to high temperature conditions. TomGEM aims to understand the factors behind high temperature tolerance and addresses the issue of yield stability in adverse environmental conditions such as high temperatures. TomGEM is unique in a way that it gathers complementary expertise from academic and non-academic partners that contribute and converge their knowledge, resources and methodologies to address this one single question – the question of high yield under high temperature condition.

  • Prof. Cathie Martin (John Innes Centre, UK) outlines how TomGEM tackles the problems rising temperatures cause for tomato production by performing studies in warmer regions of Bulgaria, Spain, Italy and Argentina.

  • Prof. Antonio Granell (CSIC, Spain) highlights how the large diversity of tomato traits available from traditional varieties and wild relatives allows the selection of heritable traits. TomGEM aims to do crosses between selected varieties to achieve better heat tolerance in tomatoes.

  • Dr. Carlos Baixauli (Fundación Cajamar Comunidad Valenciana, Spain) explains why temperature is the most decisive environmental factor for tomatoes. Even a small increase in temperature can cause many problems for tomato growth and development.