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A new mutant genetic resource for tomato crop improvement by TILLING technology

Silvia Minoia13, Angelo Petrozza1, Olimpia D'Onofrio1, Florence Piron2, Giuseppina Mosca1, Giovanni Sozio1, Francesco Cellini1, Abdelhafid Bendahmane2 and Filomena Carriero1*

Author Affiliations

1 Metapontum Agrobios, SS Jonica 106 Km 448.2, 75010 Metaponto (MT), Italy

2 Unité de Recherche en Génomique Végétale, UMR INRA-CNRS, Rue Gaston Crémieux, 91057 Evry Cedex, France

3 ENEA, Casaccia Research Center, PO Box 2400 Roma 00100AD, Italy

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BMC Research Notes 2010, 3:69  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-3-69

Published: 12 March 2010



In the last decade, the availability of gene sequences of many plant species, including tomato, has encouraged the development of strategies that do not rely on genetic transformation techniques (GMOs) for imparting desired traits in crops. One of these new emerging technology is TILLING (Targeting Induced Local Lesions In Genomes), a reverse genetics tool, which is proving to be very valuable in creating new traits in different crop species.


To apply TILLING to tomato, a new mutant collection was generated in the genetic background of the processing tomato cultivar Red Setter by treating seeds with two different ethylemethane sulfonate doses (0.7% and 1%). An associated phenotype database, LycoTILL, was developed and a TILLING platform was also established. The interactive and evolving database is available online to the community for phenotypic alteration inquiries. To validate the Red Setter TILLING platform, induced point mutations were searched in 7 tomato genes with the mismatch-specific ENDO1 nuclease. In total 9.5 kb of tomato genome were screened and 66 nucleotide substitutions were identified. The overall mutation density was estimated and it resulted to be 1/322 kb and 1/574 kb for the 1% EMS and 0.7% EMS treatment respectively.


The mutation density estimated in our collection and its comparison with other TILLING populations demonstrate that the Red Setter genetic resource is suitable for use in high-throughput mutation discovery. The Red Setter TILLING platform is open to the research community and is publicly available via web for requesting mutation screening services.