Evolution of Plant Secondary Metabolites

Kliebenstein Lab

UC Davis Plant Sciences

Natural Variation of

Botrytis cinerea/ Lycopersicon Interactions


We are attempting to identify and characterize the genetic loci control Botrytis cinerea resistance in wild tomato species in an effort to breed these loci into domestic tomato to provide resistance.

Project Summary

 Some Wild tomato species contain high levels of Botrytis Resistance.

 This resistance is quantitative and genetically complex upon crossing to domestic species.

 This resistance is not absolute to all Botrytis cinerea genotypes.


Botrytis cinerea is an economically important pathogen on both greenhouse grown tomatoes as well as stored tomato fruit. Some wild species related to tomato have strong resistance to Botrytis. We are utilizing mapping populations generated by crossing the domesticated to wild species in an attempt to characterize the genetic basis of this resistance. We are also using our large Botrytis germplasm collection to test the breadth of this resistance.


Interestingly this strong resistance is actually the result of a highly complex genetic architecture comprised of multiple loci. We are testing Botrytis isolates that are resistant and sensitive to a tomato produced anti-fungal compound to see if variation in this compound could be the basis of these loci. The goal of this project is to introduce these resistance loci into domesticated tomato to increase Botrytis resistance.


The use of multiple model plants also allows us to address questions dealing with the evolution of variable virulence and resistance mechanisms in this plant/pathogen interaction.

Comparison of Botrytis Resistance Between Domestic Tomato (Top - L. esculentum) and a Wild Species (Bottom - L. hirsutum).

To contact us:

Phone: 530-754-7775
Fax: 530-752-9569