After a three-year break due to the Covid pandemic, the “XVII International Conference on the Plant Family of Solanaceae” took place from 1st till 5th of November in Thessaloniki, Greece. Many important crops belong to this so-called nightshade family such as tomato, potato, tobacco, pepper and eggplant. More than 200 scientists from all over the world joint the meeting and enjoyed the scientific exchange.
New insights related to advances in genomics, metabolomics and molecular breeding were presented and discussed as well as how the available biodiversity can be exploited to identify new breeding targets. In addition, genome-editing based strategies to improve crop characteristics and performance were provided. Thus, H. Ezura from the University of Tsukuba (Japan) reported on the generation of a health-promoting tomato containing a high level of GABA (ɣ-aminobutyric acid) using the CRISPR/ CAS9 technology and on its way to launch to the Japanese market.
Tomato flower and fruit development and the importance of phytohormones in these processes were another important part of the conference. There was also a large session, which dealt with approaches to better understand adaptation of solanaceous species to changing climate condition, such as heat drought and salinity stress. In this session, Sophia Sonnewald from our chair talked about our approaches to unravel the regulatory network in heat stress tolerance of potato plants. The talks were complemented by intense discussion in front of posters. The next meeting will take place next years in Argentina.