Because of the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations, the blog had a week off. Among many other meetings was a very useful one with Sir John Beddington, the Government Chief Scientific Adviser, and other Departmental Chief Scientists. These meetings provide excellent fora for developing scientific thinking across Government Departments, and certainly expose me to issues broader than those that I typically contemplate.
We were pleased to note the announcement (amid a welter of bad puns such as ‘tomato genome project bears fruit’, ‘sauce code’, and the like) of the sequences of two tomato genomes. Given the very widespread consumption of tomatoes, and their perceived health benefits, it will be most exciting to see how quickly this knowledge translates into strains with improved traits such as taste, anti-oxidant content, post-harvest longevity, disease resistance, and so on. (Incidentally, growing tomatoes in saline conditions can improve their taste, but not yield, considerably!) [...]