QTL mapping in eggplant reveals clusters of yield-related loci and orthology with the tomato genome

PLoS One. 2014 Feb 21;9(2):e89499. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0089499. eCollection 2014.


In spite of its widespread cultivation and nutritional and economic importance, the eggplant (Solanum melongena L.) genome has not been extensively explored. A lack of knowledge of the patterns of inheritance of key agronomic traits has hindered the exploitation of marker technologies to accelerate its genetic improvement. An already established F2 intraspecific population of eggplant bred from the cross '305E40' x '67/3' was phenotyped for 20 agronomically relevant traits at two sites. Up to seven quantitative trait loci (QTL) per trait were identified and the percentage of the phenotypic variance (PV) explained per QTL ranged from 4 to 93%. Not all the QTL were detectable at both sites, but for each trait at least one major QTL (PV explained ≥ 10%) was identified. Although no detectable QTL x environment interaction was found, some QTL identified were location-specific. Many of the fruit-related QTL clustered within specific chromosomal regions, reflecting either linkage and/or pleiotropy. Evidence for putative tomato orthologous QTL/genes was obtained for several of the eggplant QTL. Information regarding the inheritance of key agronomic traits was obtained. Some of the QTL, along with their respective linked markers, may be useful in the context of marker-assisted breeding.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chromosomes, Plant
  • Epistasis, Genetic
  • Fruit / anatomy & histology
  • Fruit / genetics*
  • Genes, Plant
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • Hybridization, Genetic
  • Phenotype
  • Quantitative Trait Loci*
  • Solanum lycopersicum / genetics*
  • Solanum melongena / anatomy & histology
  • Solanum melongena / genetics*
  • Synteny

Grants and funding

This research was partially supported by the Italian Ministry of Agricultural Alimentary and Forest Politics in the framework of “PROM” and “ESPLORA” projects. No additional external funding was received for this study. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.