Nieuws - 7 juni 2012

'It's not salad days - it's tomato days'

Who? Rene Klein Lankhorst, researcher at Plant Research International
What? Unravelled the secret of the tomato genome
Where? Publication in leading journal Nature

You must have had a busy week?
'Yes, the phone has been ringing since Monday. I wasn't able to get on with my proper work for three days. The Internet exploded with tomatoes, we had TV crews visiting and we were on the front page of the Gelderlander newspaper. We said to each other: 'Perhaps it's our tomato days instead of our salad days'.

Did you expect such media attention?
'You obviously hope so if you publish in Nature, but this is more than I expected.'

What makes this genome particularly interesting?
'Tomatoes are incredibly important for the Dutch economy. We export more vegetables than any other country and tomatoes are the biggest product. Each year, we earn half a billion euros from 700 thousand tons of tomatoes.'

I hear there is a party atmosphere at the department.
'You can say that again. I am now at a drinks do to celebrate the genome. We have tomato juice with Tabasco, as well as beer of course. I am going to be handing out prizes to various staff members. I might be the one who's been in the news all week but they do the real work.'