Open Source Plant Breeding Forum

General Category => Plant Breeding => Potatoes => Topic started by: John Green on 2020-11-18, 08:17:57 PM

Title: Potato Tomato Hybrid
Post by: John Green on 2020-11-18, 08:17:57 PM
Hello all I'm currently working on a project that would test to see if tomatoes and potatoes could create a duel purpose hybrid.


S. lycopersicum (tomato) and S. tuberosum (potato) are closely related species classified in the Solanum genus. Both crops are some of the most widely cultivated and economically important crops in the world that supply ample nutrition to it's consumers. But, these crops as important as they are, are very fragile and are fighting a war on multiple fronts. While all crops suffer from unique infections tomatoes and potatoes suffer both independent infections while overlapping some of the most devastating diseases in the agricultural world (Septoria leaf spot, early blight and late blight).

On their own potatoes and tomatoes are working fine, but if combined this new theoretical Solanum species could provide more for less land, denser nutritional food, excel in disease resistances, and be better adapted for climate change (drought like conditions)

However this project is not without issues:

Breeding will need to match in chromosome sets (tetraploid or diploid)

Potatoes contain a highly toxic compound (solanine) in all parts of the plant including the berries. If breeding with tomatoes it could potentially create a hybrid that also contains this compound. However a potential counter is that tomatoes do not, and as such a theoretical hybrid could deactivate the expression of solanine and instead be replaced by a relatively benign alkaloid found in tomatoes.

Overall I'm very interested in this project and would like to hear others input and potential criticisms

Thanks all :)

Title: Re: Potato Tomato Hybrid
Post by: Garrett Schantz on 2020-11-18, 10:03:19 PM
Seems like an interesting project.
 Solanum demissum has fruits that are apparently eaten cooked - might be a good base to start with in terms of berries.
 Starting with one of the "wild tomato" and "wild potato" projects might be better than just attempting Solanum tuberosum x Solanum lycopersicum crosses, might end up with something that can match up with tetraploids or diploids. The crosses would probably need to be done in a lab setting as well.

 You mentioned potatoes have a highly toxic compound called solanine - tomatoes have this chemical in their stems leaves and fruit (green unripe fruit have a decent amount - green when ripe varieties are probably fine). Tomatoes have another glycoalkaloid called tomatine as well. Tomatoes have much lower levels than potatoes in general with these chemicals. Some glycoalkaloids are tasteless, combining these two species could create a toxic fruit that won't be noticeable harmful right away - so there is that to consider.
 Another edible berry species with solanine is Solanum nigrum. Eggplants contain solanine as well. I would be careful in these attempts.

And of course if you do try this out and it works, separate the offspring from other tomatoes and potatoes, possibly other solanum species just to prevent any cross pollination.

 I believe the main problem with the project would be undetectable toxic compounds. Fruit production usually means less root growth as well, you could probably get away with it in areas where the storage roots don't develop for awhile.
Title: Re: Potato Tomato Hybrid
Post by: Andrew Barney on 2020-11-21, 04:46:39 PM
Like any project regardless of it's feasibility I say go for it and see what happens (if anything).

I think you are on the right track that you would need to match the ploidy number to even try.

If such a hybrid could be created i'm not sure it actually would be as useful as one would hope. My thinking is that the plant would be dividing it's energy into both and you would get both puny small potatoes and puny small tomatoes. On the other hand there is a niche market for small tomatoes and small potaotes so if the production number was high it might still be marketable or edible enough.


There was a somatic hybrid of potato-tomato created in the 90's i think. Makes me wonder if any somatic cell lines might still be floating around if one were to contact some of the papers authors on ResearchGate.
Title: Re: Potato Tomato Hybrid
Post by: John Green on 2020-11-22, 03:33:48 AM
I apologize for not listing more details in the original post, and I'll address each point below.

Yes this one is a MAJOR concern of mine. It very much would require a lab to assist in it's development (mostly in glycoalkaloids measurements, possible gene deactivation, but that's only if a outside source would find interest in the project). My goal/ hope is that I can somehow breed the plant to no longer produce solanine in the tubers or fruit, but instead take after it's tomato heritage and produce tomatine up until the fruit/tubers are ripe to eat allowing it to be safer than standard potatoes.     

Fruiting & tuber sizes:
Fortunately there is a much simpler way to deal with this than with the concerns of toxicity. The plant would need to be based on a determinate or semi-determinate design. This would optimize the plants to focus more energy into food production (and hopefully will allow the plants to mature earlier) as apposed to plant growth seen in indeterminates. 

for the plants themselves they can be divided into three categories of production (based of fruit)

Cherry: small 2oz fruit, but can yield larger tuber sizes  *starch potatoes*

Mid: Medium 5-8 oz fruit, but can yield medium tuber sizes *new potatoes*

Full: Large 10+oz fruit, but can yield small tuber sizes *fingerlings potatoes*

Hopefully by compartmentalizing this hybrid into these subcategories it will avoid any potential stress or confusion for the plants. It very much needs to be a finely tuned balancing act for it to achieve it's fullest potential.

As for the papers listed below I actually have read them before partially the reason I got inspired to do said project, but I never thought about contacting them. Probably would be good idea. Thanks! I'll send them a email come Monday afternoon :)     

Title: Re: Potato Tomato Hybrid
Post by: William S. on 2020-11-27, 08:24:17 PM
I kind of remember us talking about this possibility some time ago. I think there are one or two of the fourteen or so species tomatoes that have with difficulty gone both ways towards either tomatoes or potatoes. Though the dream of making a genetic tomato potato has never been realized by mainstream plant breeders. Sometimes it is the case that amateurs who arent dependant on funding or answerable to a university or corporation may have potential to succeed where professionals just can't because of all the pressures including the need to keep endless records and write endless reports. Definitely would need to get good at plant tissue culture and embryo rescue of immature fruits.

I believe the cell fusion approach Andrew mentions is one the plants from test rubes book mentions has been abandoned by the mainstream and is therefore an opportunity for amateurs as it was perhaps never fully explored and may have unrealized potential. Particularly for plants. Another reason to get really good at plant tissue culture.

Another thought on this. I think Tim Peters tried to make a perennial tomato from some rhizomatous habrochaites lines. Likewise, if just very moderately successful a potato is a organ that increases the perennial nature of a plant. So you could realize Tim's vision of a perennial tomato.

I would collect lots of species tomatoes and species potatoes and work on my plant tissue culture skills if I was gearing up to attempt such a thing by either plausible route.