The wild tomato of the Galapagos Islands, however, is genetically very similar to the cultivated tomato, and its resistance is encoded within a single chromosome, which should make crossing between the existing plants much easier. The Netherlands Agriculture Scientists discovered a species of wild tomato which is genetically related to the cultivate tomatoes.

Cultivated tomatoes are more vulnerable to pests and diseases, since they have lost their natural resistance in the reproduction process. Agriculture Scientist are working to reverse this by reintroducing the resistance of the wild varieties through breeding, but they still haven't been able to successfully cross breed the wild tomatoes with the cultivated tomatoes to obtain the necessary traits.

Scientists at the University of Wageningen (The Netherlands) have discovered a species of wild tomato from the Galapagos Islands that is resistant to a wide range of insect pests. The wild tomato is genetically closely related to the cultivated tomato, which makes it easy to cross-breed it at the agricultural level and make it resistant to different insects.

Ben Vosman, a scientist at Wageningen University, informed,  "we work with samples of the wild tomato species Solanum galapagense from a gene bank. The first discovery was that this tomato species is resistant to whiteflies. Then, we discovered it was actually resistant to many other insects as well, including the green peach aphid and the caterpillars of the soldier beetworm. It was a very pleasant surprise." They have been working on this research since 2010,

Vosman further added   "If we can make the cultivated tomatoes resistant to whiteflies, this will directly benefit the environment."

This problem is still relatively manageable in greenhouses, through integrated control, for example, there are also pests there. In the field crops, the problems with insects are much greater.  Hoping  that most of the advantages are in the field crops and in the tropics.

 

Chander Mohan
Krishi Jagran, New Delhi



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