Scientists Catch Up to Mutant Tomatoes

Air Date: 05/20/2008
Source:
Scientific American
Creator:
Karen Hopkin
Air/Publish Date:
05/20/2008
Event Date:
05/20/2008
Resource Type:
Article
Copyright:
n/a
Copyright Date:
2008
Clip Length:
-

This 2008 "Scientific American" article reports that two relatively recent mutations in the modern tomato plant account for cultivated tomatoes being 1,000 times larger than fruits produced by wild tomato plants. Source: Scientific American, May 20, 2008

Scientists Catch Up to Mutant Tomatoes

Two mutations turned a tiny, wild fruit into the modern large, luscious tomato. Karen Hopkin reports.

May 20, 2008

The following is an exact transcript of this podcast

If there’s anything better than a fresh, ripe, tomato, it’s a gigantic fresh, ripe tomato. And thanks to a couple of mutations, that’s exactly what we all enjoy every time we grab a tomato from the farmer’s market or the grocery store. In the wild, tomato plants actually produce some pretty small fruit. Today’s cultivated varieties serve up tomatoes that are a thousand times larger. This yummy enormity comes from mutations that affect the activity of two genes: one that controls cell division, so the more cells there are in a tomato, the bigger that tomato will be; and another that controls how many seed-bearing compartments each fruit has. Again, the more compartments the bigger the fruit.

The compartment-number mutation, discovered by scientists at Cornell University, is described online in the current issue of Nature Genetics. The researchers found that no strains of wild tomato carry this mutation, which affects a gene called fasciated. Because all of the large-fruited modern varieties they surveyed have it, this suggests that the mutation occurred relatively recently in tomato history, and that breeders then shared it with all their tomato-loving friends. So you can thank those fasciated mutants for teeing up your next BLT.

Karen Hopkin

Close NBC Learn

Choose your product

NBC Learn K-12 product site
NBC Learn Higher Ed product site

For NBC Learn in Learning Management Systems please log in to your institution's Learning Management System web site and click "Browse NBC Learn".
For further assistance, please contact our NBC Learn Support Team and we'll be happy to assist you.

Start Your Free
day
Day Trial!
Close NBC Learn

FILTERING

If you are trying to view the videos from inside a school or university, your IT admin may need to enable streaming on your network. Please see the Internet Filtering section of our Technical Requirements page.

DVDs AND OTHER COPIES

Videos on this page are not available on DVD at this time due to licensing restrictions on the footage.

DOWNLOADING VIDEOS

Subscribers to NBC Learn may download videos and play them back without an internet connection. Please click here to find out more about subscribing or to sign up for a FREE trial (download not included in free trial).

Still have questions?
Click here to send us an email.

Close NBC Learn

INTERNATIONAL VISITORS

The Science of the Olympic Winter Games videos are only available to visitors inside the United States due to licensing restrictions on the Olympics footage used in the videos.

FILTERING

If you are trying to view the videos from inside a school or university, your IT admin may need to enable streaming on your network. Please see the Internet Filtering section of our Technical Requirements page.

DVDs AND OTHER COPIES

The Science of the Olympic Winter Games is not available on DVD at this time due to licensing restrictions on on Olympic footage.

DOWNLOADING VIDEOS

Subscribers to NBC Learn may download videos and play them back without an internet connection. Please click here to find out more about subscribing or to sign up for a FREE trial (download not included in free trial).

Still have questions?
Click here to send us an email.

Close NBC Learn

Choose your product

NBC Learn K-12 product site
NBC Learn Higher Ed product site

For NBC Learn in Blackboard™ please log in to your institution's Blackboard™ web site and click "Browse NBC Learn"

Close NBC Learn

If you have received a new user registration code from your institution, click your product below and use the "Register now" link to sign up for a personal account.

NBC Learn K-12 product site
NBC Learn Higher Ed product site

For further assistance, please contact our NBC Learn Support Team and we'll be happy to assist you.

Start Your Free
day
Day Trial!