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J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Mar 27;50(7):2005-9.

Identification of malodorous, a wild species allele affecting tomato aroma that was aelected against during domestication.

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Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops, Newe Ya'ar Research Center, Agricultural Research Organization, P.O. Box 1021, Ramat Yishay, Israel.


Vegetable cultivation favored the inclusion of pleasant aromas in the produce, whereas unpleasant aromas were selected against. Introgression lines, generated by hybridization of a cultivated tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) to its wild relative L. pennellii, were used to map quantitative trait loci (QTL) that influence tomato aroma. A marked undesirable flavor was detected by taste panelists in L. pennellii fruits and was related to an introgressed segment from the short arm of chromosome 8. Analysis of the ripe fruits' volatiles of chromosome 8 introgressed lines revealed an up to 60-fold increase in the levels of 2-phenylethanol and phenylacetaldehyde, as compared to the cultivated tomato. This effect was associated with a 10 cM segment originating from the wild species. Although 2-phenylethanol and phenylacetaldehyde have favorable contribution to tomato aroma when present at low levels, phenylacetaldehyde has a nauseating objectionable aroma when present in levels >0.005 ppm. The loss of the ability to produce high levels of phenylacetaldehyde contributed to the development of desirable aroma of the cultivated tomato. The findings provide a genetic explanation for one of the aroma changes that occurred during the domestication of the tomato.

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