We have blogged before about the C.M. Rick Tomato Genetic Resources Center at UC Davis and their tomato germplasm database. Now, via Dr Roger Chetelat, the director, we hear of a major addition to the data they make available.
The collecting notes of Dr Charles Rick, the world’s foremost authority on tomato genetics, who passed away in 2002 and after whom the center is named, are now online. You can see an example here, for LA1253, a Lycopersicon hirsutum f. glabratum (or Solanum habrochaites if you prefer) collected in Ecuador in 1970. The notes have been painstakingly transcribed from Dr Rick’s handwritten field notebooks, an example of which you can see below. Cannot have been easy work. And I mean both chasing after all those tomato wild relatives in the first place, and transcribing Dr Rick’s notes after so many years and with him gone.
There are plans to eventually also “scan the pages that contain drawings of fruit shape, maps of collection sites, or other tidbits that can’t readily translated into text.” As an old collector, I find this stuff fascinating. Although I’m really not sure I’d like my own field observations so mercilessly exposed to the world.