Tomato’s hidden mutations revealed in study of 100 varieties

A new analysis of difficult-to-access genetic variation is the most comprehensive ever conducted in plants. It could guide the improvement of tomatoes and other crops.

Human appetites have transformed the tomato DNA and all. After centuries of breeding, what was once a South American berry roughly the size of a pea now takes all sorts of shapes and sizes, from cherry-like to hefty heirloom fruit.

Today, scientists are teasing out how these physical changes show up at the level of genes work that could guide modern efforts to tweak the tomato, says Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator Zachary Lippman.