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Auto-Hybridizing Tomatoes  RSS feed

 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I'm really loving the decorative flowers on the wild tomato Solanum habrochaites.

solanum-habrochaites-flowers-2016-10-06.jpg
[Thumbnail for solanum-habrochaites-flowers-2016-10-06.jpg]
Solanum habrochaites would work in a flower garden.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Here's some photos of fruits of some of the wild tomato species. Taste of fully ripe fruits is sweet and very fruity. Lots of possibilities for selecting new tomato flavors.

Solanum peruvianum


Inter-species hybrid between domestic mother and S. habrochaites father. From the wild species, the plants are exhibiting: huge flower petals, striped fruits, hairy fruits, and wild leaves. The plants inherited inserted stigma from the domestic tomatoes. With so many wild traits showing up in the F1, it makes it easy to confirm that the crosses were successful.


Solanum corneliomulleri
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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Joseph Lofthouse October 2nd wrote:F1: [WXO X (Sun4 X Pink)].


Nine weeks later, and these plants have produced ripe fruits. Yay! Looks like I'll be able to grow one more generation this winter.

wxo-x-Sun4-x-pink-fruits.jpg
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Tomato breeding: Promiscuous pollination project.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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I'm continuing to work on this project overwinter. I have about 30 plants growing in a south facing window. Some of them are ripening fruit. For example: Here is an F1 hybrid. The mother was a red NoID from my landrace. Fruit was about 2" in diameter. The pollen donor was LA1777, Solanum habrochaites, a wild tomato with green/white fruits about 1/2" in diameter. So the cross took on the small-fruit size of the wild parent, and it picked up some genetics for a hint of yellow color from the domestic tomato. I expect the next generation to segregate into plants with lots of different colors and shapes of fruits, and lots of different leaf and vine shapes.

The F1 hybrid: [NOID Red X LA1777]


The wild species was the pollen donor.


This is the mother.

 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:The F1 hybrid: [NOID Red X LA1777]


This morning, the seedlings from these fruits had germinated. That makes them the grandchildren of the original cross between wild tomatoes and domestic tomatoes. That's the generation where things get really exciting for a plant breeder! Things are looking good for this generation to produce seeds before I'll be wanting them for planting in the spring. Happy Dance!!!

 
John Weiland
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This project just keeps getting more exciting.  Nice that the greenhouse is allowing you to get multiple generations per year.  Can't recall if you mentioned the diameter of the fruits at this point...does the grid below the fruit in the photo indicate a 1 cm x 1 cm square with the + signs at the corners?  Or is that 1" x 1"?  Will you then be backcrossing for larger fruit size?  It would be really cool down the road if a seed packet ordered from your catalog would contain all of the genetics being compiled in these current crosses for re-selection by gardeners from Tierra del Fuego to Tuktoyaktuk.  A legacy project, Joseph!.....
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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John Weiland:

Thanks. The + signs on the grid are 1 cm apart. The dots are 1 mm apart. That's the only size grid that I use for photography. I aughta modify the graphic to include that info.

The domestic tomato that was the mother of this cross was about 2" in diameter, so I'm expecting that some of the offspring will be that size as well. I made crosses with other domestic mothers, with fruits about 6 oz, and the same wild pollen donor, so I expect fruits of that size to be showing up also. Next summer, I intend to make a back-cross to mothers with 12 oz fruits. That's about the biggest fruits I can expect to ripen in my climate.

I'm attempting to keep the first generation plants alive for the whole winter, so that I can plant them in dirt this spring, and generate lots of second generation seeds for sharing. That will give the widest possible selection choices for people in other areas.  They are currently growing in my bedroom window. In 6 weeks I'll be able to move them back out to the greenhouse. They are not currently flowering, but fruits that formed earlier are continuing to ripen.

I attempted the back-cross to S. habrochaites in the fall. Fruits from the attempt are growing fine. I expect them to ripen within a month. I don't expect to be able to tell if the cross was successful until the fruits ripen in about 4 months.  I'm expecting to attempt many more back-crosses to S. habrochaites,  trying to incorporate the self-incompatibility gene into domestic tomatoes. That's the primary focus of this project.

I also  attempted back-crosses to a different line of domestic tomatoes. Those seedlings have also germinated, I'll know in a few weeks if the cross was successful.  I'm only contemplating making one more manual back-cross to domestic tomatoes in order to recover larger fruits... Additionally, I'll watch my tomatoes carefully, because some naturally occurring back-crosses will be happening because I am encouraging promiscuous pollination.
 
David Livingston
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Hi Joseph
Interesting stuff but above my head these days . Yesterday the weather was grotty so I decided to look though my seed catalogue that came  in the post that morning . In it I found something that might interest yourself and others thinking of breeding some tomatoes . As I understand it  most tomatoes have been so inbread they cannot breed with other tomatoes bit like the Royal families of europe   . So I was surprised to find this in the catalogue  Tomato Groseille / Red Current  Lycospersicon  pimpinellifolium with the warning dont grow this if you want to save seeds as it pollinates other tomatoes http://www.germinance.com/tomate_groseille_27-F9-E91.php ( yes I know its in French but since I live in France you have to go with the flow non? ) Could this be used by others seeking to make their own land race ?
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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David: I'm loving it! A warning from a seed company that a tomato is promiscuous. I'm currently growing Lycospersicon  pimpinellifolium. It does really well in my frost/cold tolerance trials. It would be a good species to use for those wishing to add diversity to their tomato landraces. The flowers are super-tiny, so I'm not currently using it in the auto-hybridizing project. For that project, I am targeting huge flowers.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Here's the pedigree of some the tomatoes that are currently growing in my bedroom window that are part of the auto-hybridizing tomato project. I've been saying that the pedigrees for the promiscuous pollination project are complicated. I didn't realize the magnitude of the complexity until today. There is a mix of naturally occurring and manual cross-pollenations.  There are four lines of 7-way crosses.This graph represents the core of the most advanced lines, where there was a favorable intersection of my desires, dumb chance, plant compatibility, etc. Some varieties that I wish were included are completely missing.

A single arrow on the graphic is flow of pollen from the father of a cross to the mother. If the arrow is circular, the plant self-pollinated. The doubled arrows lead to offspring through one or more generations of selfing or selection. The boxes represent the current generation of seeds or seedlings that are only a few weeks old. Perhaps some of them will produce seeds before spring.

I'm really loving this project. The box labeled "BC1"  may contain self-incompatible tomatoes. I harvested 15 seeds for BC1 this morning. The other two boxes probably contain lots of different types of promiscuously pollinating tomatoes, but I don't expect them to be self-incompatible.

Pedigree of auto-hybridizing tomato project.
 
John Weiland
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Joseph, Did you apply for Patent Variety Protection on your "WTF" seed accession shown in your flow-chart??  

Saw an article that promotes what you do.....keep up the great breeding! :  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/tomato-flavor-science_us_5889d3fae4b061cf898cdc9b?ykjdvidf8tkmlsor&

"One big exception to the sad state of the average beefsteak is the resurgence of so-called heirloom varieties seen in farmers markets and upscale grocery stores. Those vegetables are often grown using generations-old seeds, selected for their flavor above all else. But they come at a premium."
 
Casie Becker
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The thing that sticks with me from that article is how they're all like "Look at how advanced we are. We have the technology now to tell if a tomato tastes good. NOW we can grow tasty tomatoes." Now that it can use expensive and specialized equipment the farmers will be expected to by, it's becoming an industry priority? Anyone else seeing that?
 
John Weiland
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@Casie B.: "Now that it can use expensive and specialized equipment the farmers will be expected to by, it's becoming an industry priority? Anyone else seeing that?"

Yup....when it comes to standard industry interests and practices, "follow the green".....and I'm not talking about the color of the foliage. 

What has been cool about following Joseph's and others progress is that, for most of the breeding projects, it's about everything *but* uniformity of product.  Taste is only one of many traits for which the different collections are being saved and propagated.  And when it does come to taste, why create a machine for what your own taste buds and olfactories can do cheaper, more sensitively, more accurately,.....and more uniquely to the palate of the taster?  Imagine if over half of your neighbors had their own selection/breeding projects going where taste to the grower was key and seeds were shared between homes.  You might end up liking 'Jane's sweet corn' who lives two doors down more than others on the block, but may like 'Bill's paste tomato' who lives across the back alley more than anyone else's, simply because you share their same respective palate for those flavors.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I'm continuing to work on this project overwinter. I'm growing about 30 plants in a bedroom window, and just started their offspring in a germination chamber. Another week or so, and I'll be able to take them out to the greenhouse during warmer days. Some of the offspring are forming flower buds, so it's looking good to get one more generation of seeds grown out before I start the spring tomatoes.

I didn't realize, before I started this project, how beautiful the offspring would be. Here's some tomato flowers that are a hybrid between domestic and wild tomatoes. I'm loving the bold floral display.

tomato-panamourous-2017-02-06a.jpg
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Panamorous tomatoes: Bold floral display. Exerted stigmas.
tomato-panamorous-2017-02-06b.jpg
[Thumbnail for tomato-panamorous-2017-02-06b.jpg]
Huge flowers.
 
Casie Becker
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Am I right in guessing these are determinate tomatoes? Or has your focus on the flowers allowed some indeterminate traits to survive?
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Casie Becker wrote:Am I right in guessing these are determinate tomatoes? Or has your focus on the flowers allowed some indeterminate traits to survive?


My starting varieties were a mix of determinates and indeterminates. Fruits were red, yellow, purple, or white. Fruit size was between 0.5" and 2.5", so offspring are likely to have a wide range of traits. My primary selection criteria is for promiscuous flowering traits, and ability to make viable seeds. Once that is well established, then I'll select for other traits like taste, and large fruits. I'm likely to settle on determinate growth pattern, cause that tends to work best with my short season. I'm likely to select for yellow, orange,  or white fruited tomatoes because I don't much care for the taste of red or purple fruits. A tremendous amount of diversity is expected, and I'm sharing seeds widely, so all sorts of wonderful traits and varieties are likely to arise from this project.

There are currently 16 fruits growing in my bedroom window, so I may have more seeds to share before spring.
 
Casie Becker
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It's funny how completely opposite your tomato taste and needs are to mine. The deep darker red a tomato is, the better it tastes to me. Yellow and orange tomatoes taste rather insipid to me. The best of them taste like a typical supermarket red tomato. I've never tried a purple tomato, but I suspect I'd like it. On top of that, I have a very long growing season and I'm happiest when I get a tomato plant through all eight months we can grow them here. Most people just plant a second set of plants in the fall because disease pressure and heat stress can be so hard on the spring plants.

Unfortunately, I also have a family member in the house who is deathly allergic to tomatoes. She can't even stand near the plants. I only grow a couple of plants each year, in beds at the far reaches of the yard. I've already planted saved seed from a variety I was impressed with. If it wouldn't risk sending my sister into anaphylatic shock I would consider trying to make next year my 'year of tomatoes'.
 
David Livingston
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Hi Joseph
I thought of you today as I have been reading " Legumes " by JM Pelt ( it's in French I doubt it's available in the. uSA ) where he states that until the 1780s tomatoes where grown more for decoration than fruit in France . I wonder if these veg had flowers like yours
People did not eat the fruit because it raised unhealthy appetites strangely he gives no more details on this

David
 
Andrew Barney
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Though not part of Joseph's project yet, his efforts have inspired my own goings and tinkering in the wild tomato breeding area.

Today i planted seed for 4 accessions of S. galapagense, one S. cheesmaiae, 2 S. habrochaites, and 1 S. peruvianum. I used the 1:1 ratio of water:bleach method soaked for 30 min for all of them (with a little lemon juice and cream of tartar mixed in). For S. galapagense and S. cheesmaniae they actually recommend 1 hour soaking, but i only did 30 min.

My earlier pots of test S. galapagense and S. cheesmaniae seemed to have germinated well. I have at least 5 seedlings of each that i can probably separate at some point into separate pots. The S. galapagense did take longer to germinate though and when i was still unsure if they would germinate at all i did add a little lemon juice to the soil one day. Not sure if it helped, but i guess it didn't hurt.

One of the accessions i think for S. cheesmaniae for the notes i wrote on the seed packet said exerted stigma and antho, so that sounds exciting. One of the S. galapagense accessions said red fruit which is unusual. I'm hoping the orange-brown fruit one actually is brown.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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In a flat of seedlings which were harvested from S. peruvianum, that were inter-planted with S. habrochaites, there is one seedling that is off-type. Perhaps it's an interspecies hybrid? I'll keep watch on it, and see if other traits diverge later on.

The second photo is what is typical of the mother on the right. What is typical of the father on the left, and what looks like a plant with traits mid-way between the suspected parents in the middle.

The third photo shows a ripe tomato from a cross between a red domestic tomato, and S. habrochaites. Andrew: If it has any seeds in it, some of them are intended for you. The fruit turned more yellow under the sunlight in the greenhouse than it did in a low-light bedroom window.





solanum-peruvianum-possible-cross.jpg
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One plant is off type: Solanum peruvianum
habrochaites-peruvianum-hybrid.jpg
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habrochaites, possible hybrid, peruvianum
Fern-X-LA1777-F1-2017-03-20.jpg
[Thumbnail for Fern-X-LA1777-F1-2017-03-20.jpg]
Cross between domestic and wild tomatoes.
 
Andrew Barney
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:The third photo shows a ripe tomato from a cross between a red domestic tomato, and S. habrochaites. Andrew: If it has any seeds in it, some of them are intended for you. The fruit turned more yellow under the sunlight in the greenhouse than it did in a low-light bedroom window.


Wow! Thanks!

Here's my update so far.

Photo 1: Solanum galapagense. I LOVE these leaves!



2. Solanum cheesmaniae



3. Solanum habrochaites



4. Misidentified as Wx5 but really Solanum cheesmaniae?



5. Regular Tomato for comparison. I believe this is the variety known as "Anasazi" that i got from Boulder, CO.

 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Andrew Barney wrote:4. Misidentified as Wx5 but really Solanum cheesmaniae?


Looks like what I call WxO, or Wild Orange (synonymns) The defining characteristic of the variety is that it's the sweetest variety that I have grown. It came from the same set of crosses as Wx5, so recently descended from an unknown wild ancestor.

Wild Orange Flower


Wild Orange Fruit (aka WxO)
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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One of the second generation plants from this project is currently flowering. The anther cones are loosely-connected, and open, and the stigmas are somewhat exerted (inside red circles). Yay! The petals are small. Oh well. The floral display is decent in spite of the small petals. So it's OK as a first approximation. I am pollinating it with other plants from this project that have huge petals. The plant has a determinate growth pattern, which tends to work well in my garden.

Here's what part of the project looks like as of 2017-04-08.





tomato-panamorous-2017-04-08.jpg
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Panamorous tomatoes
tomatoes-polyamorous-2017-04-08.jpg
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Polyamorous and panamorous tomato breeding project
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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Fruits ripened for the panamorous pollination project last week. I squeezed the juice/seeds out of them into a bottle to ferment. The fermentation finished today, so I harvested about 118 seeds. These are F2 seeds, the second generation since the cross. This is the most exciting generation for a plant breeder, because that's where the most diversity shows up in crosses.

interspecies-hybrid-tomato-fruits.jpg
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Inter-species tomato fruits
fern-f2-seeds.jpg
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Interspecies tomato seeds
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