, Volume 107, Issue 2, pp 359-370
Date: 03 Apr 2003

QTL analysis of morphological traits in eggplant and implications for conservation of gene function during evolution of solanaceous species

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Abstract.

An interspecific F2 population from a cross between cultivated eggplant, Solanum melongena, and its wild relative, S. linnaeanum, was analyzed for quantitative trait loci (QTL) affecting leaf, flower, fruit and plant traits. A total of 58 plants were genotyped for 207 restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) markers and phenotyped for 18 characters. One to eight loci were detected for each trait with a total of 63 QTL identified. Overall, 46% of the QTL had allelic effects that were the reverse of those predicted from the parental phenotypes. Wild alleles that were agronomically superior to the cultivated alleles were identified for 42% of the QTL identified for flowering time, flower and fruit number, fruit set, calyx size and fruit glossiness. Comparison of the map positions of eggplant loci with those for similar traits in tomato, potato and pepper revealed that 12 of the QTL have putative orthologs in at least one of these other species and that putative orthology was most often observed between eggplant and tomato. Traits showing potential orthology were: leaf length, shape and lobing; days to flowering; number of flowers per inflorescence; plant height and apex, leaf and stem hairiness. The functionally conserved loci included a major leaf lobing QTL (llob6.1) that is putatively orthologous to the potato leaf (c) and/or Petroselinum (Pts) mutants of tomato, two flowering time QTL (dtf1.1, dtf2.1) that also have putative counterparts in tomato and four QTL for trichomes that have potential orthologs in tomato and potato. These results support the mounting evidence of conservation of gene function during the evolution of eggplant and its relatives from their last common ancestor and indicate that this conservation was not limited to domestication traits.

Communicated by G. Wenzel