By combining the taste panel's results and the samples' chemical and genetic analyses, the researchers were able to identify the missing genes associated with flavor. They were then able to replace bad genes in modern tomatoes with good ones that restore their taste. Besides finding a way to make tomatoes taste like tomatoes again, the study also provides breeders a thorough genetic analysis of the fruit.
Plant and microbial biology professor Adrian Hegemanat from the University of Minnesota told The Verge:
"A breeder can now simultaneously select for hundreds of these genetic markers to rapidly select new plants with as many of the desirable traits as possible. This will make it easier to cross two different tomato varieties and test the progeny from that cross at very early stages of growth to get rid of plants that lack key gene linked traits."
Breeders can't get everything they want, though -- in some varieties, for instance, sweetness is linked to a smaller size. But, hey, they now at least have the choice to make delicious tomatoes. If you want to know more about how the researchers accomplished their mission, check out their paper on Science.