Author(s): Sacks EJ, Francis DM
The genetic and environmental variation for flesh color of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) fruit was quantified using 41 red-fruited breeding lines, open-pollinated cultivars, and hybrids that are representative of the diversity of tomatoes grown for whole-peel processing in the midwestern and eastern United States and Ontario, Canada. Objective color measurements were made for 2 years from replicated experiments with 2 to 4 blocks per year. Genotypes differed significantly in lightness value (L*), saturation (chroma), and hue angle. Variation within fruit and among fruit in plots accounted for more than 75% of the environmental variation for the color traits. The crimson locus (ogc) accounted for less than one-third of the variation in fruit color among genotypic means, and explained 18% to 27% of the genotypic variation for L*, chroma, and hue. Estimates of variance components were used to develop sampling strategies for improving selection efficiency. Genotypes were identified that may be useful for studying genetic differences that lead to quantitative variation for fruit color in red-fruited populations of tomato.