Attack of the skinny tomato

By Ewen Callaway, 15:58 PM April 15, 2008

One gene may mark the difference in shape between round supermarket tomatoes and some of the $5-a-pound heirlooms that grace farmers markets each August. A team of botanists has pinpointed the mutation that endows varieties like Howard German, spitz, and Opalka with their elongated shapes.

Most tomatoes—including the puny wild breed from which all others descend—have just one copy of a gene called SUN, says Esther van der Knaap of Ohio State University in Wooster. She and a team of botanists ...

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