Wednesday, March 25, 2009

March 25th, 2009

Hello, IRB tomato is an joint research effort to identify interspecific reproductive barriers in tomato (IRB tomato). These are barriers that many of the wild species of tomato process to prevent two distinct species from breeding together. The tomatoes we work with are endemic to Peru, Ecuador, Chile, and the Gallapagos Islands. They differ from your garden tomato which lacks these barriers to breeding and will accept pollen from most any wild tomato species (ex. Solanum pennellii). However S. pennellii will not allow pollen from your garden tomato to fertilize and produce seed. This one way cross is called Unilateral Incongruity (UI). Some wild tomato species also process barriers to inbreeding called Self Incompatibility (SI). The former is less understood even though many of these species co-habitate the same areas, in some instances their branches have been found to intertwine (S. pimpinellifolium and S. arcanum). In the next couple of weeks a group of researchers will be heading to Peru to look for some of these wild tomato populations to better understand these interspecies mechanisms to reproduction. Periodic posting of our adventures will be found here, so stay tuned.