Tomato Enthusiasts on Different Levels: New TomGEM Interview Series
TomGEM has released an interview series produced during its 3rd annual project meeting in Old Windsor, UK. The clips illustrate the objectives, activities and results of the multi-national, interdisciplinary consortium working together in this four-year research initiative. The partners highlight their personal motivation and the different expertise they bring into the project, while addressing some key challenges that need to be overcome towards the ultimate goal to foster breeding of new tomato cultivars with improved yield under suboptimal temperature conditions.
Three years into the project, TomGEM has already demonstrated its innovation potential. Project coordinator Prof. Mondher Bouzayen highlights that “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 help tomato breeders to create new tomato varieties and new cultivars that are better suited to high temperature conditions”. In that sense, not only farmers will benefit from the results of the project as they will have better genotypes to select from for their tomato cultivation, but also consumers will benefit from increased fruit quality. Additionally, TomGEM will enable scientists to better understand how heat tolerance is controlled and regulated in plants. The consortium uses tomato as a reference fleshy fruit crop as tomato is not only a very important staple food but also a model system that offers many facilities for the application of reverse genetics. In the last three years, TomGEM generated a phenotyping database that governs a vast amount of data and includes a system that allows mining and visiting this data in a very efficient and rapid way.