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Developing organic tomato genotypes by participatory plant breeding

A Multi-parent Advanced Generation Intercross (MAGIC) tomato population was developed by crossing eight founder lines chosen to include a wide range of variability. The lines were previously genotyped by a genotyping by sequencing approach. The MAGIC population was used to develop genotypes with important agronomic traits and to perform the Participatory Plant Breeding (PPB).

Among the 400 plants of generation 4 (G4) of the MAGIC population cultivated in an organic field experiment, 22 individuals were phenotypically selected and a molecular analysis was done for both presence of resistance genes and fruit shape (marker assisted selection) on G5 seedlings. Three selected plants showed both the pyramiding gene of resistance to the main diseases and the ovate gene for pear shape typology.

The 400 G10 stable lines that obtained from single seed descent will represent an important genetic resource for the tomato scientific community. The MAGIC population G4 was also cultivated in three organic farms located in North, Central and South Italy to carry out the PPB. The plants showed significant phenotypic differences in development, productivity and fruit color. This variability was used to select families of tomato adapted to low input crop management, different environments, agricultural practices and market conditions.

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