Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) is considered a model plant species for a group of economically important crops, such as potato, pepper, eggplant, since it exhibits a reduced genomic size (950 Mb), a short generation time, and routine transformation technologies. Moreover, it shares with the other Solanaceous plants the same haploid chromosome number and a high level of conserved genomic organization. Finally, many genomic and genetic resources are actually available for tomato, and the sequencing of its genome is in progress. These features make tomato an ideal species for theoretical studies and practical applications in the genomics field. The present review describes how structural genomics assist the selection of new varieties resistant to pathogens that cause damage to this crop. Many molecular markers highly linked to resistance genes and cloned resistance genes are available and could be used for a high-throughput screening of multiresistant varieties. Moreover, a new genomics-assisted breeding approach for improving fruit quality is presented and discussed. It relies on the identification of genetic mechanisms controlling the trait of interest through functional genomics tools. Following this approach, polymorphisms in major gene sequences responsible for variability in the expression of the trait under study are then exploited for tracking simultaneously favourable allele combinations in breeding programs using high-throughput genomic technologies. This aims at pyramiding in the genetic background of commercial cultivars alleles that increase their performances. In conclusion, tomato breeding strategies supported by advanced technologies are expected to target increased productivity and lower costs of improved genotypes even for complex traits.
Keywords: Solanum lycopersicum, genetic and genomic resources, molecular markers, microarray, resistance to pathogens, fruit quality