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.
Keywords: eggplant; epigenetic regulation; general combining ability; genomics; heterosis prediction.