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Volume 485 Issue 7400, 31 May 2012

The tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) is a major crop plant worldwide and a model organism for the Solanaceae family of flowering plants. It is widely used for the study of fruit biology and disease resistance. A high–quality genome sequence of a domesticated tomato – the Heinz 1706 cultivar – has now been determined, together with a draft sequence for its closest wild relative, the ‘currant tomato Solanum pimpinellifolium. Comparative genomics identifies only 0.6% difference between the two, but a divergence of more than 8% from the potato, Solanum tuberosum, which was sequenced last year. The tomato and S. pimpinellifolium sequences also record the bottlenecks that have narrowed genetic diversity: domestication in the Americas; the export of a few genotypes to Europe in the sixteenth century; and centuries of intensive breeding. Cover: natu/Shutterstock.


  • Editorial |

    Genome studies of food crops offer a powerful way for plant breeders to create products with the most advantageous attributes.

  • Editorial |

    The eradication of polio is within reach, but it is too early for self-congratulation.

  • Editorial |

    The two-location solution for siting the Square Kilometre Array should not surprise us.

World View

Research Highlights

Seven Days

  • Seven Days |

    The week in science: Private spacecraft docks with International Space Station; changes to Brazil’s deforestation laws; and a US petition urges for open access to research.



News Feature

  • News Feature |

    Conservationists are taking heroic measures to restore the fertility of a three-footed Sumatran rhino. But some ask whether this is the right way to save an endangered species.

    • Henry Nicholls
  • News Feature |

    Once thought to be passive sentinels, microglia now seem to be crucial for pruning back neurons during development.

    • Virginia Hughes


  • Comment |

    Establish a global agency to build a sustainable market for this precious commodity, say William J. Nuttall, Richard H. Clarke and Bartek A. Glowacki.

    • William J. Nuttall
    • Richard H. Clarke
    • Bartek A. Glowacki
  • Comment |

    China's discomfort over discussing sex, and especially homosexuality, is a major problem when it comes to HIV, says a consortium of researchers in China.

    • Hong Shang
    • Junjie Xu
    • Linqi Zhang

Books & Arts


News & Views

  • News & Views |

    DNA is the material of choice for making custom-designed, nanoscale shapes and patterns through self-assembly. A new technique revisits old ideas to enable the rapid prototyping of more than 100 such DNA shapes. See Letter p.623

    • Paul W. K. Rothemund
    • Ebbe Sloth Andersen
  • News & Views |

    When the heart is injured, the muscle does not regenerate and scars are produced. This process can be attenuated in the hearts of live mice by forcing scar-forming cells to become muscle cells. See Articles p.593 & p.599

    • Nathan J. Palpant
    • Charles E. Murry
  • News & Views |

    An analysis of microscopic and spectroscopic features of sediments deposited in a South African cave one million years ago suggests that human ancestors were using fire much earlier than had been thought.

    • Richard G. Roberts
    • Michael I. Bird
  • News & Views |

    Quasiparticles known as repulsive polarons are predicted to occur when 'impurity' fermionic particles interact repulsively with a fermionic environment. They have now been detected in two widely differing systems. See Letters p.615 & p.619

    • Peter Hannaford
  • News & Views |

    Recognition of aberrant cell death is a crucial function of the immune system. It seems that one way in which immune cells identify damage is by sensing actin, an abundant intracellular protein.

    • Gordon D. Brown
  • News & Views |

    Elucidation of a signalling pathway that promotes tumour-cell survival during metabolic stress reveals that a protein called AMPK may both hinder and enhance cancer progression. See Letter p.661

    • Robert U. Svensson
    • Reuben J. Shaw


  • Article |

    Previous work has shown that a combination of three transcription factors can directly reprogram cardiac fibroblasts into cardiomyocyte-like cell in vitro; now, the same authors demonstrate in vivo reprogramming of cardiac fibroblasts into induced cardiomyocytes.

    • Li Qian
    • Yu Huang
    • Deepak Srivastava
  • Article |

    A combination of four transcription factors, GATA4, HAND2, MEF2C and TBX5, can reprogram fibroblasts into cardiac-like myocytes in vitro and in vivo; expression of these factors ameliorated cardiac function in mice that had suffered myocardial infarction.

    • Kunhua Song
    • Young-Jae Nam
    • Eric N. Olson
  • Article |

    In the Drosophila testis, IGF-II messenger RNA binding protein (Imp) is shown to promote stem-cell niche maintenance by stabilizing unpaired (upd) RNA; Imp levels decrease in the hub cells of older males, owing to regulation by the microRNA let-7.

    • Hila Toledano
    • Cecilia D’Alterio
    • D. Leanne Jones






  • Futures |

    Quick decisions for a difficult future.

    • Monya Baker


  • Outlook |

    For women worldwide, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed and has the highest death toll. With improvements in screening and treatments over the past 50 years, more women are living longer, but the numbers reveal some tough challenges. By Amy Maxmen.

    • Amy Maxmen
  • Outlook |

    If detected early, most cases of breast cancer seem to be curable. But the tumour's deadly offspring could be sleeping in the body.

    • Jocelyn Rice
  • Outlook |

    The system for clinical trials must be redesigned if there is to be a decline in breast cancer metastasis, argues Patricia S. Steeg.

    • Patricia S. Steeg
  • Outlook |

    Physical activity has numerous proven benefits, and its long-contested ability to keep cancer at bay is now being put to the test.

    • Julie Corliss
  • Outlook |

    Specific research and treatment of breast cancer in men has been neglected and deserves greater attention, says Valerie Speirs.

    • Valerie Speirs

Nature Outlook

  • Nature Outlook |

    Breast cancer

    Each year, 1.3 million women — and some 13,000 men — are diagnosed with breast cancer. The past few decades have seen huge advances in treatment, but about one-quarter of those diagnosed will die from the disease. Complicating matters, breast cancers are remarkably diverse, and tumour cells seem to hide in 'cured' individuals. The difficult challenges are only just starting.

Nature Briefing

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