Domestication and breeding of tomatoes: what have we gained and what can we gain in the future?

Ann Bot. 2007 Nov;100(5):1085-94. doi: 10.1093/aob/mcm150. Epub 2007 Aug 23.


Background: It has been shown that a large variation is present and exploitable from wild Solanum species but most of it is still untapped. Considering the thousands of Solanum accessions in different gene banks and probably even more that are still untouched in the Andes, it is a challenge to exploit the diversity of tomato. What have we gained from tomato domestication and breeding and what can we gain in the future?

Scope: This review summarizes progress on tomato domestication and breeding and current efforts in tomato genome research. Also, it points out potential challenges in exploiting tomato biodiversity and depicts future perspectives in tomato breeding with the emerging knowledge from tomato-omics.

Conclusions: From first domestication to modern breeding, the tomato has been continually subjected to human selection for a wide array of applications in both science and commerce. Current efforts in tomato breeding are focused on discovering and exploiting genes for the most important traits in tomato germplasm. In the future, breeders will design cultivars by a process named 'breeding by design' based on the combination of science and technologies from the genomic era as well as their practical skills.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / trends*
  • Biodiversity
  • Breeding / methods*
  • Crops, Agricultural / genetics*
  • Genomics / trends*
  • Lycopersicon esculentum / genetics*