Phenotypic diversity within cultivated tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) is particularly evident for fruit shape and size. Four genes that control tomato fruit shape have been cloned. SUN and OVATE control elongated shape whereas FASCIATED (FAS) and LOCULE NUMBER (LC) control fruit locule number and flat shape. We investigated the distribution of the fruit shape alleles in the tomato germplasm and evaluated their contribution to morphology in a diverse collection of 368 predominantly tomato and tomato var. cerasiforme accessions. Fruits were visually classified into eight shape categories that were supported by objective measurements obtained from image analysis using the Tomato Analyzer software. The allele distribution of SUN, OVATE, LC, and FAS in all accessions was strongly associated with fruit shape classification. We also genotyped 116 representative accessions with additional 25 markers distributed evenly across the genome. Through a model-based clustering we demonstrated that shape categories, germplasm classes, and the shape genes were nonrandomly distributed among five genetic clusters (P < 0.001), implying that selection for fruit shape genes was critical to subpopulation differentiation within cultivated tomato. Our data suggested that the LC, FAS, and SUN mutations arose in the same ancestral population while the OVATE mutation arose in a separate lineage. Furthermore, LC, OVATE, and FAS mutations may have arisen prior to domestication or early during the selection of cultivated tomato whereas the SUN mutation appeared to be a postdomestication event arising in Europe
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