Home > FAQ


  • How large is the tomato genome?
  • It’s about 950Mb, almost seven times larger than Arabidopsis thaliana.
  • How many chromosomes does tomato have?
  • Tomato genome is organized into 12 chromosomes (n = x = 12). The Kazusa DNA institution and National Institute of Vegetable and Tea Science are participating in sequencing the chromosome 8.

  • Where is the tomato’s actual origin?
  • The tomato’s origin is believed to be Peru and Ecuador in South America.


  • How much are domestic and international production and consumption of tomato?
  • In 2005, 760,000 t of tomato was produced in Japan. This amount accounts for a tenth of rice production in Japan. Annual Japan’s tomato consumption accounts for 10 kg / person, a tenth of Italian’s consumption.

  • What kind of variety is Micro-Tom?
  • It’s a dwarf variety with height about 15 cm, and able to grow a large amounts of plants in small space. Micro-Tom can grow under the closed growth system with general fluorescent light. Micro-Tom has many advantages as research materials, since it only takes three month from sowing to produce seeds, and is able to be transformed.
  • Is Micro-Tom eatable?
  • Yes, it is eatable, although the taste may not be very good.

  • How many seeds does Micro-Tom produce?
  • It yields about 20-30 seeds per fruit. One plant yields about 200-300 seeds.

  • Is research on tomato popular?
  • Absolutely. The number of research papers on tomato was the fifth largest among plant sciences during the recent ten years.

  • What are the difference between tomato and other model plants such as Arabidopsis, legume, and rice?
  • Tomato is apparently distinct from these model plants. In fact, EST analysis showed that 30% out of all tomato EST did not show significant similarity to currently known plant proteins (Van der-Hoeven et al., 2002). In addition, tomato has lots of developmental features in which other model plants do not attain. For example, tomato develops seeds in fruits as a result of the evolution. It is also known that tomato is a day neutral plant, while rice is a short-day and Arabidopsis is a long-day plant.



Is Micro-Tom transformable? How is the transformation efficiency?

Yes. Micro-Tom is transformable. The efficiency depends on experiments, but high efficiency (10-40%) has been routinely obtained. See the related paper (Sun et al. 2006, Plant Cell Physiology 47:426-431).


Can I ask you transformation?

Yes. For more details, contact us at (transnet@psc.riken.jp).


What line of Agrobacterium is the best for transformation?

We prefer to use C58, having stronger infection line.


Is transient assay established?

Yes. See the related paper (Plant Physiol 140 (1): 3-11, 2006).


Is microarray chip available in tomato?

Yes. An unique DNA array, GeneChip Tomato genome Array (9.2K), consists of 12,123 cDNA is available from Affymetrix.


Is tiling array available in tomato?



Can I induce gene silencing by RNAi method?

Yes. See the related paper (Plant J 31 (6): 777-786, 2006).


Is T-DNA tagging lines available?

We are currently setting up these lines.


Is it more difficult to isolate RNA, DNA, and protein from tomato than those from other plants?

Maybe yes, due to the massive presence of sugar. But it is actually easy to isolate these plant materials from tomato.


Is metabolome analysis available in tomato?

Yes. Recent evidence by LC-FTICR-MS showed the identification of 850 metabolites from tomato fruit, a hundred of which are the first metabolites such as sugar, fifty of which are sugar phosphate, and three hundred of which are volatiles.


Is genetic map available in tomato and is positional cloning possible?

Both are yes. The EXPEN2000 is utilized for basic genetic map for genome project. The Kazusa DNA Research Institution is now organizing the genetic DNA markers.


Do you have Recombinant Inbred lines or Near-Isogenic lines?

We do have introgression lines from cross of E6203 and LA1777 (Bernacchi et al., 1998), and cross of M82 and S. pennelli.




What is the growth condition suitable for tomato?

Tomato prefers mild temperature (25-28OC) with 60%±10 moisture and PPF100-200 μmol/ms/s light.


How many of Micro-Tom is able to grow per square meter.

About 1,300 plants can be cultivated under the space.


What diseases does Micro-Tom have before harvesting?

Rust mite and whitefly often come up on leaves. Best way to prevent pathogen attacks is early detection, and spray of adequate pesticides.


Is tomato able to grow under hydroponic culture? What kind of culture solution is needed?

Yes. Hydroponic culturing is possible. We usually use Ohtsuka 1go2go solution.


Is it possible to grow tomato outside when it is hot (temp > 35oC)?

Only when tomato is grown in greenhouse in which temperature control is available.




How much tomato genomic DNA has been determined so far?

Please visit at : http://sgn.cornell.edu/


How much tomato cDNA was isolated, and sequenced?

Please visit at : http://www.pgb.kazusa.or.jp/kaftom/


What do SOL and JSOL stand for?

SOL stands for International Solanaceae Genome Project. This project involves international collaboration on Solanaceae research, while JSOL stands for Japan Solanaceae Consortium.


What are JSOL’s roles on SOL project?

JSOL is ranked as a one of the key position for the international genome project, and participating in sequencing chromosome 8. JSOL also contributes to developing mutant corrections as well as genomic resources including full length of cDNA and genomic markers. In addition, JSOL is involved in central part of TILLING project of tomato. Especially, JSOL sticks to use Micro-Tom as research material and provide related genomic resources where it could be predominant feature due to that utilized tomato variety depends on researchers in other counties.


Where is the central research institution in tomato research?

Cornell University (USA), Weizmann Institute (Israel), Max Planck Institute (Germany), Sanger Center (England), Plant Research Institute (The Netherlands), Wageningen University (The Netherlands), Napoli University (Italy), ENEA (Italy), IBMCP (Spain), KRIBB (Korea), Seoul University (Korea), University of Hyderabad (India), China Academy of Science (China), INRA (France), University of Tsukuba (Japan), The Kazusa DNA Research Institution (Japan), and National Institute of Vegetative and Tea Science (Japan).




Please visit at: :http://tomato.nbrp.jp/relatedSitesEn.html




What is the mutagen?

Tomato was mutagenized with EMS and gamma-ray irradiation.


How many lines of mutants do you plan to have?

We plan to have independent 4,000 lines of EMS-treated mutants, while 6,000 lines of gamma-ray irradiated mutants.


Can I get all available mutants?

It is possible, depending on condition. For more details, please contact us to requestomato AT t-pirc.tsukuba.ac.jp (Replace AT with @).


What is the mutational rate by EMS?

We estimate about 1/1000 kb.


How many mutant seeds can I get per mutant?

10 seeds (M3) per mutant will be provided.


Do you have a mutant database?

We are now setting up the mutant database called “TOMATOMA”, which will be disclosed soon.


Do you plan to organize transgenic tomato lines?

Yes. We are currently planning to prepare for platform for transgenic tomato by T-DNA tagging.


Can I screen tomato mutant by TILLING?

It is possible. For more details, please contact to: requestomato AT t-pirc.tsukuba.ac.jp (Replace AT with @)




How long is NBRP tomato project?

From 2007 to 2011.


Where is the central institute for the NBRP tomato project?

University of Tsukuba and The Kazusa DNA Research Institute is taking charge as the central part of this project.


How many tomato wild varieties do you have?

Please visit at :http://tomato.nbrp.jp/browseSearchEn.html


Can you send seeds overseas?

Yes. But, please be aware that if the seeds are required for inspection by Inspection serves or related institution prior to entrance into your country, and we are not able to support the expense for this inspection.


When we write research papers using provided materials, do we have to describe about it in Acknowledgement?

Please describe like: The tomato resource used in this research was provided by the National BioResource Project (NBRP), MEXT, JAPAN.