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Tomato genome fully sequenced

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

A team of more than 300 scientists from 14 countries have fully determined the genetic sequence of tomatoes.

I'm not sure how far that documents the genetic variations in different varieties. I know that we've claimed to sequence "the human genome" without taking swabs from everyone on the planet! My guess is that they have a complete genetic sequence from one variety, and some data on different expressions of some genes.

They did compare "domestic tomato" to a wild cousin Solanum pimpinellifolium and found only 0.6% difference. They found 8% difference between and potato (Solanum tuberosum). For c omparison, humans and chimps are only 1.2% or 2.7% different.

The article claims that the sequence is likely to be used to assist conventional breeding, but not likely to trigger another attempt to market GMO tomatoes like the "FlavrSavr".

It suggested "pest resistance" while using fewer or less pesticides as one goal that will be facilitated. And perhaps "improved flavor" despite the natural non-ripening genes used to extend shelf life.

Also: "because some of the wild species come from desert locations, there are going to be genes we can breed in that will help mitigate climate change."

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

I know that your a plant breeder and I love the idea of the best tasting tomato possible. DNA, RNA CELL TRACING,CELLULAR RESPONSE CONTROL are all really interesting,but when it comes right down to nuts and bolts, I just want something that grows well for me.
As that typed in a little testy sounding I will add thank you sincerely for that article information.
Remember when plants were going to walk to water thereselves?And there is one whose roots will move an entire plant,as last I had heard.I wonder....

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Thanks for the info, Rick.

Richland, WA(Zone 7b)

Wow! That reading is way too heavy for me! :-) I think I will just keep it simple and enjoy the flavor of a fresh tomato on my BLT sandwich!

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

I'm not a breeder (or not yet). If I can get them to grow and set seeds, I'm proud. I saw it in some news digest and thought it was interesting.

I'll be much impressed (and surprised) if they can entice some supermarket variety to develop good flavor "without ripening". A few weeks ago I relaized why they seldom sell heirlooms in a supermarket: some store set out a small basket of "heirloom tomatoes" (variety not specified, I guess because they had no barcode for that).

They were as gushy as if they had been beaten to a pulp. Just picking one up was a challenge.

I guess they need them to be as hard as baseballs before shipping, so they're only as hard as tennis balls when sold.

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

EH, One day the plants will be dinking the roots in a water trough and then curling the roots back again when they have had enough to drink.The plants might even be able to manipulate the light and temperature for thierselves.Which brings to mind; then why would they need us.(boooooooo).
Rick;I guess I should have said "ADVANCED HOBBYIST HYBRIDIZER" . After all, I didn't want to say amateur,or "wanna be" plant breeder. It looses something of civiality.(lol) Only that is about all many like myself ,had ever managed to get to.Thank heavens for a few fine minds.
As for supermarket groceries, open markets still have to have some purpose.(hierlooms, flavors to taste,etc).

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

>> It looses something of civility

Ohhhh! I lived too long in New Jersey to know anything about "civility". "Beginner amateur" would be fine.

I'm moving from the category where we boast
. . . . "they're not ALL dead YET!"
. . . . . . "they DIDN'T all die!".

For example, it took me years to get one Delphionium to survive.
But look at him now!

Thumbnail by RickCorey_WA Thumbnail by RickCorey_WA
Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

Nice delph, I feel that way about a few plants and flowers myself,when they grow I am as happy as could get.I am trying for a delph to grow for me now. Most of mine are prairie regulars,I believe the delphs even came from you. Thanks again.
Anticipation of my first tomatoes from the garden this season,etc, in response to heirlooms.The next couple of weeks I will even get find out if I like what I've grown.We all take chances, sometimes it's even worth what we learn.

Carrollton, TX(Zone 8a)

The first article was interesting to me, but the second one was way over my head. Thanks for sharing them.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Rick, speaking of your delphinium, how is that lilac I sent you doing? Jeanette

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

>> the second one was way over my head.

Me, too. The journal Nature is heavy-duty science. I read the abstract and then looked at the pictures while scanning the text to see if any made sense to me. The abstract made the point that wild and cultivated tomatoes only differ in 0.6% of their DNA. I thought that was cool: the selection process we are so proud of, that makes agriculture possible, adds up to less than 1% of the genome.

>> how is that lilac I sent you doing?

Hi Jeanette. Both are doing OK, a tall stick with some leaves on top. I haven't killed them yet, which IS an acomplishment folr me! I have them both in pots.

I only had two perennial beds, and a new n eighbor moved in and made me removed one of them! So I'm still preparing a permanent home for them. I will probably use them as a screen between our yards, in an area I'm thiniking of making into a "Goddess Garden" - small beds around a big stump I hope to use as a pedastle for a small statue of an angel. The white and lilac should be good colors for that.

You can see the orange tape where you labelled them, in this shot. The leaves are a small bunch at the top.

Thumbnail by RickCorey_WA
Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Don't know Rick, they don't look too hot. Have you thought about giving them a dose of Mychorrizae? Doesn't take much. I have heard that there are more and more people using it now. When I got mine, several years ago, not many people had heard of it. I don't think. I know, someone will come on here and say I was in the dark ages. LOL Think more people in hydroponics had used it than soil gardening.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

I thought of buying some online, but apparently it doesn't last long after opening.

I thought they were doing great: not dead yet! Maybe some fertilizer, now that winter is past they must want some food.

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

Those occur naturally where pines and evergreens grow,as part of evergreen timber forest's natural life cycle. The symbiosis is there as naturally as legumes as nitrogen fixation. Maybe some recently ripped up pine tree roots that haven't dried or been without soil around them for long . ETC. Mychorrizae.

I could always be wrong but I got that from pro forestry manuals some time ago.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

I might have suggested fertilizer, but I have heard Lilacs don't take fertilizer. That is why I suggested Mychorrizae. Jeanette Oh, BTW, never heard that about it going bad.

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

Like every other fungi or fungus they go dormant and after a while some return and others do not.What is marketed are concentrates and after dormancy they are much less effective as fertilizer or boosters. I suppose we are back to experience and knowledge of such things. Kinda like pond enzymes?

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

I've read that almost any "healthy" soil has loads of Mychorrizae and their spores. Of course, my potting mix might not! I'll take a little sopil from my oldest and healthiest bed, recedntly had compost added from my compost heap, and sprinkle a little sopil on top and water it in.

I do want to keep the container fast-draining, hence I don't want to add much clay soil to it.

P.S. the mychorrizae of woody plants are usually the "ecto" kind, that mainly surround the roots and don't penetrate them much. Vegetable and flower roots need endo-mychorrizae varieties. Those penetrate into the roots and exist both outyside and inside the roots.

So bark and forest soil might be better sources of mychorrizae for woody plants, trees and bushes than for flowers and vegetables.

I've also read thnat, when plants have p[lentyh of water and nutirients, and don't need help pulling them from the soil, they maked their roots ledss hospitable to mychorrizae, which then p;retgty muc h have to turn to spores and wait arolund folr worse condtions.

Like the industry that supplies spare parts fvor used cars: when the economy is bad, is when they do the most business. We're all buying more spare parts to replace olur old clunkers instead of buyhing new cars. Mychorrizae are like that: bad times are good for them.

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

That is interesting and while "sterile potting mixes" are great for starting seeds ,maybe it is not so good for somewhat developed plants.
And I suppose from there humic enzymes ,tannins as enzymes all the little things we never get to see unless we are setting at our microscopes. OH, and lets not forget our handy dandy "spectrographtometer" Gracious I always loved that word, just been waiting for a chance to sneak that in.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

>> "sterile potting mixes" are great for starting seeds ,maybe it is not so good for somewhat developed plants.

I agree. But I have drowned so many roots with heavy clay and no drainage or aeration rthat now I lean towards the most open, airy mix I can make. Which means "not much clay".

I do hjave some pots where I was forced to throw soil and plants into whatever pots I could scrounge quickly. Luckily, that was the grittiest, most-coarsly-amended soil I have. If THOSE don't drown, maybe I can make myself lean back towards putting soil into p;otting soil mixes.

But I might have to take that sopil from bags. Sadly, when I buy bags of "potting soil", it is still so heavy that I would lighten it before throwing it on a raised bed! Someone recently called such soil something like "mud-in-a-bag".

More clay, I don't need!

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

Kinda like finding out that sand and gravel isn't so bad for growing plants and isn't only for constuction after all.

Well clays are full of minerals, or you could make bricks ,or maybe mix up some facials.Kinda makes ya wonder if that's why they are selling "mud in a bag" it's really discount beauty products and decor supplies.

And I've drowned and smothered more than my share of potted plants.

OH YEAH, and those bags make the most beautiful bare spots you ever did see,absolutely gorgeous !! Use for everything!!!

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Sand and grit BY THEMSELVES don't help clay drain or aerate at all. Maybe they help it be a little more friable before it has become "organic enough".

Or the grit may help some other "coarse" amendment like bark shreds or Perlite "prop up" clay chunks enough to create air channels IF the clay always stays dry enough that it never flows into the air channels to seal them.

But sand and grit are "mostly futile" until the clay has enough organic matter.

First and foremost clay needs lots of organic matter followed by living things and enough tilling to fluff it up once it is able to maintain some structure. Perhaps a broadfork is all the tilling it really NEEDS after compost and amendments are well mixed in, in the first place.

But I keep turning it deeply for the first few years, until the compost and living things build up enough to maintain structure..

As clay becomes "almost amended enough" to support air channels and drainage, added grit and sand become more effective at improving drainage and aeration. They are needed mozst when there is little OM or soil life, but they don't work well until there is quite a bit of OM and soil life.

That's my theory.

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

Yes and your theory right as it works for you, that is the point of practice after all.
As I comprehend your meaning about clay I have taken a glass marble size piece of clay and mixed rough sand into it and it wasn't right to use until it was the size of a tennis ball or baseball. I realize all to well how difficult clay can be to deal with as garden material. Especially when it completely dries out and you would swear it was rock or stone!
Of course you are near enough mountain hardpan to know that.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

In order for pure clay + pure sand or grit to "work", I don't think the clay can be more than around 5-10% of the total.

Imagine starting with pure grit. Each grit grain sits on 1-3 other grains and supports 1-3 other grains.
The open space is what's "propped up" between grains.
The open space might be 20% of the total volume for coarse grit, or 5% for sand.

How much (soft) clay can you add until you plug ALL the open space? Only 5-20%, if the clay gets wet enough to run. So sand and grit won't improve drainage or aeration of pure clay. But it seems to me that pure clay dries into hard pieces the size of my clay pile, and need a pick to break them apart (when dry). Clay plus 5-20% sand is willing to crumble with about 5-10 times less force.

Clay just won't work as soil until enough OM and other things are added for the "solid particle" to be a clod or ped, instead of a grain of clay. Clay particles are even finer than silt - depending on who you ask, "smaller than 5 microns" or "smaller than 1 micron". Say smaller than one thousandth of a mm.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Rick, on all the other forums I have read about people with clay they say Gypsum, like drywall is what works on it. You might do a little research on that. Jeanette

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Yup, I've read that several times and have been adding it gradually for a few years now.

What I beliedve is, is that any improvement it gives is gradual and seen over years.

With compost, I see a definite benefit right away. If gypsum does anything, you can't prove it by me. I think it would take a controlled study to see the benefit, but in my yard, no two square feet of created soil are identical.

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