The scientists from the Medical Institute revealed latent mutations in tomato DNA. That happened during a genetic study, which was subjected to over a hundred varieties. For many centuries, tomato accompanies a person, entering his diet. During that time, the vegetable took a wide variety of forms - from large ones with the name "bull heart" to very small "cherry". The scientists have found out why such physical changes appear in a tomato.
They believe that the transformation of the tomato occurred through the fault of human appetite. Once a tomato was no larger than a pea, and South America was considered its homeland. A researcher Zachary Lippman believes that physical changes in tomatoes occur at the gene level.
He and his colleagues were able to identify hidden mutations in the genomes of 100 types of tomatoes. Among them were wild varieties that grow on the Galapagos Islands, and those varieties of tomatoes that are used for processing and production of ketchups and tomato sauces. The researchers said that gene mutations are characteristic of any plants and tomato was not an exception.
As part of the research, they came to the conclusion that it is possible to create new improved varieties of tomatoes based on those that are already available, changing their key characteristics, such as weight and taste.
The previous studies have already proven the presence of mutations in the genomes of plants, but then the specialists did not have an effective way to study their influence. Tomato gene mutations alter the structure of DNA by copying, deleting, pasting or moving long sections of DNA elsewhere in the genome.
These mutations are called structural changes, and they occur everywhere on the planet. In humans, the scientists associate mutational processes with the manifestation of diseases such as autism, schizophrenia.
The changes in the structure of the tomato gene are able to change the fetus itself, causing physical changes. Investigating the features of a hundred varieties of tomatoes, the scientists revealed over 200 thousand structural changes of the bottom.