Evolution and Systematics

Functional Adaptations

Functional adaptation

Plants starve caterpillars: tomato

Leaves of tomatoes break down a key nutrient within an herbivore using enzymatic degradation.

  "The growth and development of insect herbivores depends on their ability to acquire essential amino acids by digestion of plant protein. Here, we describe the biochemical and structural features of the defense-related TD2 [threonine deaminase paralog] isoform from tomato that exploits this nutritional vulnerability. TD2 appears to reduce herbivory by acting in the insect gut to degrade Thr[eonine], which is an essential and limiting nutrient for the growth of lepidopteran larvae (11)." (Gonzales-Vigil et al.:5897)
  Learn more about this functional adaptation.
  • Gonzales-Vigil E; Bianchetti CM; Phillips GN; Howe GA. 2011. Adaptive evolution of threonine deaminase in plant defense against insect herbivores. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 108(14): 5897.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Solanum sp.

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This article is about the types of plants known as wild tomatoes . For other uses of Wild Tomato, see Wild Tomato (disambiguation).

Lycopersicon was a genus in the flowering plant family Solanaceae (the nightshades and relative). It contains 13 confirmed species in the tomato group of nightshades; a few others might also belong here. First removed from the genus Solanum by Philip Miller in 1754, its removal leaves the latter genus paraphyletic, so modern botanists generally accept the names in Solanum. The name Lycopersicon (from Greek λύκοπερσικων meaning "wolf peach") is still used by gardeners, farmers, and seed companies. Collectively, the species in this group apart from the common cultivated plant are called wild tomatoes.

Cladistic analysis of DNA sequence data confirms Lycopersicon as a clade that is part of a lineage of nightshades also including the potato (S. tuberosum). If it is desired to continue use of Lycopersicon, it can be held as a section inside the potato-tomato subgenus whose name has to be determined in accordance with the ICBN.[1]

Selected species[edit]

Former specific names are cited if they have significantly changed when moving to Solanum, are:[1]

Arcanum group

  • Solanum arcanum Peralta (= Lycopersicon peruvianum var. humifusum C.H.Mull.)
  • Solanum chmielewskii (C.M.Rick, Kesicki, Fobes & M.Holle) D.M.Spooner, G.J.Anderson & R.K.Jansen
  • Solanum neorickii D.M.Spooner, G.J.Anderson & R.K.Jansen (= Lycopersicon parviflorum C.M.Rick, Kesicki, Fobes & M.Holle)

Lycopersicon group

  • Solanum cheesmaniae (L.Riley) Fosberg (= Lycopersicon peruvianum var. parviflorum Hook.f.)
  • Solanum galapagense S.C.Darwin & Peralta (= Lycopersicon cheesmaniae f. minor (Hook.f.) C.H.Mull., L. cheesmaniae var. minor (Hook.f.) D.M.Porter, L. esculentum var. minor Hook.f.)
  • Solanum lycopersicum L.Tomato, Cherry tomato etc. (= Lycopersicon cerasiforme, L. lycopersicum and many others)
  • Solanum pimpinellifolium L.Currant Tomato (= Lycopersicon esculentum ssp. intermedium Luckwill, L. esculentum ssp. pimpinellifolium (L.) Brezhnev in Zhukovskii, L. esculentum var. racemigerum (Lange) Brezhnev in Zhukovskii, L. pissisi Phil., L. racemiforme Lange, L. racemigerum Lange)
(Tomato)Lycopersicon flowers, and developing fruit

Eriopersicon group

Neolycopersicon group

Other "wild tomatoes"[edit]

Fruiting branch of Solanum carolinense. These "wild tomatoes" are poisonous.

Colloquially, wild tomato is used for several unrelated Solanum species with tomato-like fruit or leaves. The term is inaccurate and may be dangerous, as some of these species may be fatally poisonous:

and others


  1. ^ a b Solanaceae Source [2008]: Phylogeny. Retrieved 2008-OCT-01.

Further reading[edit]

  • Peralta, Knapp & Spooner: (2005): New Species of Wild Tomatoes (Solanum Section Lycopersicon: Solanaceae) from Northern Peru. Systematic Botany 30(2): 424-434.
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