'Iron Lady' tomato punches out blights
"This represents a really valuable tool for growers," Mazourek said. "And the tomatoes are head and shoulders above those you would find shipped to the grocery store."
Mutschler-Chu said she wanted to make Iron Lady available to growers quickly because of the real and immediate need. "We have even better lines coming along," she said. "We are testing second-generation hybrids now."
While breeding the new lines, Mutschler-Chu and her team created molecular markers that can be used to detect the presence of Ph2 and Ph3 in plants. "Use of markers cuts in half the number of generations it takes to breed," she said. "Development of a similar marker for the Septoria resistance gene is nearing completion."
Mutschler-Chu is sharing her discoveries with scientists and seed companies, so that the resistance traits can be incorporated into other varieties.
This project was supported in part by a New York Specialty Crop grant.