Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Tomato Code

What's got 31,760 genes and is red all over? Tomatoes, that's what! It's the moment we've all been waiting for folks: after nine years, a group of plant geneticists from 14 countries have finally decoded the entire tomato genome. Hopefully this will lead to tasty-yet-shelf-stable tomatoes of the FUTURE. Or, possibly, tomatoes that need less pesticide to thrive. For now, we can only hope.

For those of you who are counting, that means that tomatoes have about 7,000 more genes than humans. Although this isn't all that unusual, since many plants have extremely large genomes (wheat, for example, has a genome that is five times the size of humans'), I wouldn't turn my back on them. No one wants to be surprised by something like this.

(via the NYT)

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