Tue, Oct 0211:00 AM
Severance Hall - Room 009
Esther van der Knapp, Associate Professor and Research Scientist in the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science at the OARDC/Ohio State University and Affiliated Scholar at the College of Wooster will present...
"On the origin of tomato and other food plants"
Esther received her BS/MS in Plant Pathology in 1990 from Wageningen University, Wageningen, the Netherlands. She received her Ph.D in Genetics in 1998 from Michigan State University, East Lansing.
Plants are essential to life on earth because they produce oxygen as well as food for the nourishment of other organisms. The topic of this seminar will center on the origin of the major food plants, with a special focus on tomato. The start of the Neolithic era, between 8,500 and 2,500 B.C., marked the beginning of agriculture and a sedentary lifestyle. At that time, early farmers started to select individuals with improved characteristics such as larger fruit and seed, reduced seed dormancy, and ease of harvest. During this process called “domestication”, the overall appearance of the cultivated plants changed dramatically compared to the wild relatives from which they were selected.
Several areas around the world have been recognized as the centers of crop domestication, also known as agricultural homelands. The closest wild ancestor of cultivated tomato is found in Peru and Ecuador in South America. Current data support the notion that the domestication of tomato occurred in Peru and Ecuador, but also in the Yucatan in Mexico resulting in the modern tomato. After the discovery of America by Columbus, tomato was introduced to Europe and the rest of the world. Further selections of tomato ensued, resulting in a germplasm that is highly diverse in fruit characters such as shape.
The first step to understand the molecular and evolutionary events underlying tomato fruit diversity is to identify the critical genes. Four genes have been found to control tomato shape: SUN and OVATE control fruit elongation whereas FAS and LC control locule number resulting in a flat shape. We evaluated the effect of each gene and found that the diversity in the tomato germplasm is explained to a large extend by mutations in one or more of the four genes. We also investigated the origin of these mutations thereby offering insights into the evolution of tomato from a small round berry to a large and variable shaped fruit found in grocery stores today
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Home
Areas of Study
Severance Hall943 College MallWooster, OH 44691Phone: 330-263-2418
1189 Beall Avenue, Wooster, Ohio 44691. (330) 263-2000
© Map and Directions | Employment | A to Z Index | Contact Us | Terms and Conditions | ScotMail | ScotWeb | ScotBlogs | Libraries | WHN