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Charles M. Rick was a plant geneticist and botanist who pioneered research on the origins of the tomato. He was widely regarded as the world's leading authority on tomato biology. Born in 1915 in Reading, PAmarker, Rick earned a bachelor's degree in horticulture in 1937 fromPennsylvania State Universitymarker. He earned a doctoral degree in genetics from Harvard Universitymarker in 1940 and joined the Vegetable Crops Department at the University of California, Davismarker in 1940. On retirement from the University of California in 1958 he became professor emeritus and continued his research. He died May 5, 2002 in Davis.

Tomato Research

For his research, Professor Rick made expeditions to locations in the Andes and the Galapagos Islandsmarker, collecting a diversity of cultivated tomatoes and hundreds of wild tomato species. His research contributed to the areas of plant genetics, evolution, genome mapping and archiving the seeds of tomatoes and related plant species. In 1949 Rick co-founded the Tomato Genetics Cooperative to encourage communication and exchange of research findings among tomato researchers. He published the cooperative's newsletter from its inception in 1951 until 1981.


Rick was elected to the US National Academy of Sciencesmarker in 1987. The C.M. Rick Tomato Genetics Resource Center at UC Davis, a living genebank of wild relatives, monogenic mutants and miscellaneous genetic stocks of tomato is named for Professor Rick.


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