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  • 1 USDA/ARS, Vegetable Laboratory, Bldg. 011, H.H. 13, BARC-West, Beltsville MD 20705

Incorporation of genes from wild species has been a major contributor to tomato improvement in recent years. Solanum ochranthum, a woody non-tuber bearing species, is a potential source of resistance against tomato diseases and insect pests but is genetically isolated from tomato. Somatic hybridization methods were developed to facilitate the use of S. ochranthum for tomato germplasm improvement. Leaf mesophyll protoplasts of S. ochranthum and a Lycopersicon esculentum hybrid were chemically fused with polyethylene glycol. The protoplasts were initially cultured in Shepard's CL, a MS based medium, containing 1 mg·1-1 NAA, 0.5 mg·1-1 BAP and 0.5 mg·1-1 2,4-D. Hybrid regenerants and regenerants of the L. esculentum parent were recovered; S. ochranthum did not regenerate. Hybridity was established by morphological characters, peroxidase isozyme and RAPD markers. Use of these somatic hybrids for tomato improvement was evaluated.

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