DEC 17, 2018 11:37 PM PST

Why Aren't Tomatoes Flavorful?

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Ever wondered why tomatoes taste so bland?

Tomatoes used to have a sweet taste but scientists and farmers were obsessed with red ripe tomatoes that the taste was bred out via artificial selection.

Specifically, tasteless tomatoes were caused by a mutation that reduced the color variations of unripe green tomatoes settling them in a ‘uniform’ pale, green color. This mutation is in a gene now known as the Uniform gene where it’s naturally involved in tomato fruit chloroplast development. When mutated, as certain transcription factor, called Golden 2-like (GLK2), is disabled. Without GLK2 expression, a tomato's photosynthetic capacity is greatly reduced, resulting in decreased sugar content and ultimately flavorless tomatoes.

About the Author
  • Nouran earned her BS and MS in Biology at IUPUI and currently shares her love of science by teaching. She enjoys writing on various topics as well including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
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