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Tricot MicroToms

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    Tricot MicroToms

    Another genetic quirt that I'm sure some of you have seen before is tricot (and tetracot) plants. If you aren't already aware, the cotyledons are the first set of leaves to emerge (smooth and elongated in tomatoes). Dicots (which includes tomatoes) naturally have two cotyledons but can occasionally have a mutation leading to three or even four. I've seen this at a rate of about 1/1,000 which is not super common but also not rare if you're planting a lot of seeds. I've seen it in pepper plants too.

    Anyway, a tricot popped up a while back in my MicroTom tomatoes and I've been somewhat passively selecting for the trait; there are probably still some dicot-selected seeds in the mix currently. It doesn't seem to be stable yet but it's still showing up in maybe 1/5 of the seedlings. Another one emerged and I'm going to collect seeds from it.

    According to the internet, there are reports of tri- and tetracots being healthier, sicker, and the same... so there's no consensus. For what it's worth I've never noticed a difference in the plants. I just think it's a really cool trait. I'd be happy to share some seeds from my MicroTom stock if anyone is interested in the trait. If you've never grown MicroTom, it's a nice 8" tall plant with really bland red fruit that's not very useful beyond an ornamental.

    I have seen quite a few tricots and one quadcot (if that is what you'd call four). I've followed a few through to fruiting,but not noticed anything significantly different about them but I've never specifically saved seed from one and followed the seed. Maybe I should have.

    I'd be interested in some Micro Tom seed - especially the tricot ones - just to see what a cross to something small and tasty brings.

    I've made crosses with other OP micros and most have not resulted in decent flavor. Perhaps I didn't grow enough to know for sure. The only ones I've had some luck with have been Pinocchio Orange and Orange Hat. They've had decent flavor and some interesting coloring. I crossed Pinocchio Orange with an F6 of the carrot leaf 33X I sent you and the F1 was fully indeterminate. I started topping it at 4' and it was indoors in a six inch pot. Apparently the two lines didn't share any 'little' genes.


    • DrTomato
      DrTomato commented
      Editing a comment
      My main project is improving the flavor of Micro Tom by breeding in Black Cherry since the Micro Tom is so bland; I'm at F4 and have a number of lines that are now micro and have good flavor. After this generation, I'll see how I like them and potentially cross some of them with each other for complementary flavors.

      Have you brought the Pinocchio Orange x 33X to the next generation? If their dwarfing genes are different, you might get some micros in the F2 that are somehow different.

      I'll send you some of the Micro Tom tricot seeds (remember, they're a mix, so you might need to plant at least 10 to get a tricot) along with EF seeds.

    • dfollett
      dfollett commented
      Editing a comment
      I have grown a few F2s of the 33X X Pinocchio Orange. One of the F2s was quite impressive.

      One thing that seems to me will make the process of creating diversity in micros is to cross micro X micro instead of always going back to indeterminates. The micro X micro is much easier to grow in the F1 (it can be grown indoors if needed) and eliminates the micro hunting in the F2 generation. I have F2 seed from micros from crosses with lots of micro X indeterminate diversity if you would like to make crosses with your Micro Tom lines. (If that makes any sense). The carrot leaf mama makes it easy to identify successful crosses at the seedling stage of the F1.

    Yes, those indeterminates make it difficult indoors! I'm okay for now; I have a number of micros from that initial cross to black cherry. I'm really happy to have gotten the size down, it's so much easier.