How to breed Tomatoes and Potatoes

My fabulous former student Karl Haro von Mogel has just posted another one of his plant breeding videos, this time on tomato and potato breeding. Check it out!

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Given how closely they are related, would it be possible to create a plant that has tomatoes and potatoes? How or why not?

Looking at the potato seed extraction in Karl's video I suspect that with a ton of patience and time (something plant breeders have in abundance, or should have) you could possibly select for a tomato like seed pod thingumajob (I guess you'd have to, at the same time, ensure that the potato part of the plant was retaining its shape. (My guess is you could also do the same thing with a tomato only looking for tuberization of the root... however as roots are absolutely painful to work with, modifying the potato would likely be the way to go)

Dammit! We have enough trouble sorting out To-may-to and to-mah-to, po-tay-to and po-tah-to, now you want to add po-may-to and to-tah-to to the list of outstanding linguistic arguments to have?

(the following comment contains hearsay that I haven't personally attempted) Tomatoes and potatoes are closely enough related that a tomato shoot can be grafted onto potato root stock, producing a plant that yields both tomatoes and potatoes, although obviously such a plant wouldn't breed true in the following generation.

Of course such grafted plants produce fewer potatoes and fewer tomatoes than a plant that invests its surplus energy in only one or the other. The same issue would also face plants bred to produce both tomato like fruits and potato like tubers.

Although I guess you could argue there would still be a benefit to spacing out food production, with tomatoes being harvested during the summer, and then digging up the potatoes in the fall.

Tomatoes are one of the most common vegetables all over the world. They are quickly growing plants and are favorite among most amateur gardeners so as me.
I will start to grow tomatoes in my farm and now learning watever i can about them, thanks for information. I also
found another good site about tomatoes and so many other methods of agriculturing, i recommend you to take a look.

By peio revuelta (not verified) on 23 May 2010 #permalink

I would never have thought that tomatoes & potatoes had that much in common, with the exception of their rhyming names! It would be nice to be able have a plant that would give both of these though, these are my favorites!