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Staple of recipe favorites--the tomato--reveals processes that maintain biodiversity

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a tomato and the text  photogallery

See a photo gallery about tomatoes, which are in almost everything we eat, from salad and soup to chili and pizza. At this holiday season, tomato-based foods are perennial favorites. The wild relatives of these supermarket regulars, scientists are finding, have much to tell us about our food security, and about Earth's environmental future.

Credit: NSF


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Wild tomatoes and domesticated tomatoes shown in different sizes

Wild tomatoes (right) differ in size, taste, color from domesticated tomatoes (left).

Credit: David Haak


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Sheena Shah, a researcher at Indiana University Bloomington, labels wild tomatoes in a greenhouse.

Sheena Shah, a researcher at Indiana University Bloomington, labels wild tomatoes in a greenhouse.

Credit: David Haak


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a wild tomato species with red fruits.

Solanum pimpinellifolium, a wild tomato species, has red, sweet fruits.

Credit: David Haak


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green-striped, wild tomato Solanum peruvianum.

First the sweet, then the bitter: The green-striped, wild tomato Solanum peruvianum.

Credit: David Haak


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Researcher Amanda Garbers of Indiana University Bloomington in a lab

Researcher Amanda Garbers of Indiana University Bloomington studies the DNA of wild tomato plants.

Credit: David Haak


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