The meteorite which crashed into the Earth 60 to 70 million years ago, wiping out dinosaurs, had probably given us nice red tomatoes as well. This can be deduced from a tomato genome analysis, published on 30 May in Nature.
The researchers who mapped the tomato genome have established that the genome of the original tomato plant suddenly tripled in size about 60 to 70 million years ago. "Such a big genome expansion points to extremely stressful conditions,' says René Klein Lankhorst, the Wageningen UR coordinator of the tomato genome research project. 'We suspect that the meteorite crash and the resulting solar eclipse had created conditions difficult for plants to survive. A distant ancestor of the tomato plant then reacted by expanding its genome considerably in order to increase its chances of survival."
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