Due to novel and more demanding consumers’ requirements, breeding of vegetable crops confronts new challenges to improve the nutritional level and overall appearance of produce. Such objectives are not easy to achieve considering the complex genetic and physiological bases. Overtime, plant breeders relied on a number of technologies and methods to achieve ever changing targets. F1 hybrid seed production allowed the exploitation of heterosis and facilitated the combination of resistance and other useful genes in a uniform outperforming variety. Mutagenesis and tissue culture techniques permitted to induce novel variation, overcome crossing barriers, and speed up the achievement of true-breeding lines. Marker-assisted selection was one of the milestones in fastening selection, starting from the early ’90s in almost all seed companies. Only recently, however, are novel omics tools and genome editing being used as cutting-edge techniques to face old and new challenges in vegetable crops, with the potential to increase the qualitative value of crop cultivation and solve malnutrition in 10 billion people over the next 30 years. In this manuscript, the evolution of breeding approaches in vegetable crops for quality is reviewed, reporting case studies in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum
L.) and cauliflower (Brassica oleracea
L.) as model systems for fleshy fruit and floral edible parts, respectively.
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