The herbarium of Caspar Bauhin (1560–1624) at the Department of Environmental Sciences of the University of Basel is among the oldest surviving worldwide.
Because techniques for ancient DNA analysis have progressed substantially in recent years, we have been able to extract DNA from three of Bauhin's tomato specimens (Solanum lycopersicum L.) of a quality that allows for sequencing their whole genomes. We request funding to sequence these genomes, as well as those from another three specimens stored at the Herbaria Basel and collected between 1730 and 1836 (Fig. 1). Combined with data from an ongoing, funded project that emphasizes herbarium and modern specimens collected between 1900 and the present, this project will allow us to trace more than 400 years of tomato domestication in Europe using genomic data. Domestication is an important model of plant evolution. Therefore, our results will not only inform our understanding of the genetic basis of "useful" traits in one of the most important crops worldwide; it will also shed light on the genetic basis of adaptation more generally. The requested laboratory expenses are hard to fund elsewhere and the project is intimately tied to
the history of botany in Basel since the 16th century. Therefore, the project matches the goals of the Basler Stiftung für biologische Forschung well.