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Modern tomatoes are very different from their wild ancestors – and we found missing links in their evolution
The Big Idea: The tomato’s path from wild plant to household staple is much more complex than researchers have long thought. For many years, scientists believed that humans domesticated the tomato in two major phases. First, native people in South America cultivated blueberry-sized wild tomatoes about 7,000 years ago to breed a plant with a cherry-sized fruit. Later, people in Mesoamerica bred this intermediate group further to form the large cultivated tomatoes that we eat today.