Scientists claim that they can make the taste of tomatoes much better. A team of US scientists has identified essential factors that are possibly responsible for the loss of flavour in tomatoes. Now, researchers at University of Florida (UF) in the US have unveiled the lost genes associated with the original flavour. “We’re just fixing what has been damaged over the last half century to push them back to where they were a century ago, taste-wise,” said Harry Klee, a professor of horticultural sciences with UF. “We can make the supermarket tomato taste noticeably better,” he said, adding the technique involves classical genetics, not genetic modification. In the study, step one was to find out which of the hundreds of chemicals in a tomato contribute the most to taste. Modern tomatoes lack sufficient sugars and volatile chemicals critical to better flavour, Klee said. Those traits have been lost during the past 50 years because breeders have not had the tools to routinely screen for flavour, he said. To help, researchers studied what they call “alleles,” the versions of DNA in a tomato gene that give it its specific traits.