Heterosis Breeding in Eggplant (Solanum melongena L.): Gains and Provocations
National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute (NABI), Punjab 140308, India
International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Hyderabad 502324, India
Department of Genetics & Plant Breeding, CCS Haryana Agriculture University, Hisar, Haryana 125001, India
Instituto de Conservación y Mejora de la Agrodiversidad Valenciana, Universitat Politècnica de València, 46022 Valencia, Spain
Nagano University, 1088 Komaki, Ueda, Nagano 386-0031, Japan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Ashish Kumar and Vinay Sharma contributed equally.
Plants 2020, 9(3), 403; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9030403
Received: 18 February 2020 / Revised: 17 March 2020 / Accepted: 20 March 2020 / Published: 24 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plants Heterosis)
Heterosis (or hybrid vigor) results in a hybrid’s phenotypic superiority over its founder parents for quantitative and qualitative traits. Hybrid vigor is defined by mechanisms such as dominant complementation, over-dominance, and epistasis. Eggplant (Solanum melongena L.) is an essential vegetable crop and a good source of dietary minerals, vitamins, and anthocyanins, with a high oxygen radical absorbance capacity and low caloric value. Given the economic and nutritional significance of eggplants, breeding efforts focus on developing high-yielding varieties—mostly F1 hybrids—with important traits. Studies indicate the successful exploitation of heterosis in the eggplant for a considerable improvement with respect to quantitative traits. In this direction, estimating heterosis for yield-related traits could well be useful for examining the most beneficial hybrid mix with the exploitation of top-quality hybrid. This review examines the current perception of the breeding and molecular aspects of heterosis in eggplants and cites several studies describing the mechanisms. Rendering and combining recent genomics, epigenetic, proteomic, and metabolomics studies present new prospects towards the understanding of the regulatory events of heterosis involved in the evolution and the domestication of the eggplant ideotype.