ECOLOGICAL AND EVOLUTIONARY GENOMICS IN THE WILD TOMATOES (SOLANUM SECT. LYCOPERSICON)

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Abstract

The plant group Solanum section Lycopersicon (the clade containing the domesticated tomato and its wild relatives) is ideal for integrating genomic tools and approaches into ecological and evolutionary research. Wild species within Lycopersicon span broad morphological, physiological, life history, mating system, and biochemical variation, and are separated by substantial, but incomplete postmating reproductive barriers, making this an ideal system for genetic analyses of these traits. This ecological and evolutionary diversity is matched by many logistical advantages, including extensive historical occurrence records for all species in the group, publicly available germplasm for hundreds of known wild accessions, demonstrated experimental tractability, and extensive genetic, genomic, and functional tools and information from the tomato research community. Here I introduce the numerous advantages of this system for Ecological and Evolutionary Functional Genomics (EEFG), and outline several ecological and evolutionary phenotypes and questions that can be fruitfully tackled in this system. These include biotic and abiotic adaptation, reproductive trait evolution, and the genetic basis of speciation. With the modest enhancement of some research strengths, this system is poised to join the best of our currently available model EEFG systems.

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