Cornell Develops Tomatoes Resistant to Disease-Spreading Insects

Cornell University plant breeder and geneticist Martha Mutschler-Chu is the leader of a research program that has developed 20 research lines for insect-resistant tomatoes. Pest resistance was developed by introducing traits from a wild tomato in Peru. The plants excrete acylsugars that repulse insects, including western flower thrips that spread spotted wilt virus and sweet potato whiteflies that transmit yellow leaf curl virus. The tomato lines are available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture germplasm system and the Tomato Genetics Resource Center at University of California-Davis for commercial seed companies to research breeding them into commercial varieties.