University of Georgia researchers have helped complete the decade-long process of mapping the genome of the tomato.
UGA researcher and professor Andrew Paterson said the genetic information provides clues as to why one plant makes a tomato and another makes a different fruit or vegetable.
The effort included more than 300 researchers from institutions in more than a dozen countries. The UGA team spent the last two years trying to find the point where the tomato split from its plant ancestors.
The researchers found that the tomato is the first known case of a plant where the original gene set triplicated two consecutive times.
Gene duplication and triplications play an important role in spreading flowering plants across the globe, and in the evolution of crops.