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Article|18 Jul 2023|OPEN
Evaluation of three sets of advanced backcrosses of eggplant with wild relatives from different gene pools under low N fertilization conditions
Gloria Villanueva1 , , Mariola Plazas1 , Pietro Gramazio1 , Reyes D. Moya1 , Jaime Prohens1 and Santiago Vilanova,1
1Instituto de Conservación y Mejora de la Agrodiversidad Valenciana, Universitat Politècnica de València, Camino de Vera 14, 46022, Valencia, Spain
*Corresponding author. E-mail:

Horticulture Research 10,
Article number: uhad141 (2023)
Views: 222

Received: 04 May 2023
Accepted: 08 Jul 2023
Published online: 18 Jul 2023


The development of new cultivars with improved nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) is key for implementing sustainable agriculture practices. Crop wild relatives (CWRs) provide valuable genetic resources for breeding programs aimed at achieving this goal. In this study, three eggplant (Solanum melongena) accessions together with their advanced backcrosses (ABs; BC3 to BC5 generations) were evaluated for 22 morpho-agronomic, physiological, and NUE traits under low nitrogen (LN) fertilization conditions. The ABs were developed with introgressions from the wild relatives Solanum insanumSolanum dasyphyllum, and Solanum elaeagnifolium. The AB population comprised a total of 25, 59, and 59 genotypes, respectively, with overall donor wild relative genome coverage percentages of 58.8%, 46.3%, and 99.2%. The three S. melongena recurrent parents were also evaluated under control (normal) N fertilization. Reduction of N fertilization in the parents resulted in decreased chlorophyll content-related traits, aerial biomass, stem diameter, and yield and increased NUE, nitrogen uptake efficiency (NUpE), and nitrogen utilization efficiency (NUtE). However, the decrease in yield was moderate, ranging between 62.6% and 72.6%. A high phenotypic variation was observed within each of the three sets of ABs under LN conditions, with some individuals displaying improved transgressive characteristics over the recurrent parents. Using the single primer enrichment technology 5 k probes platform for high-throughput genotyping, we observed a variable but high degree of recurrent parent genome recovery in the ABs attributable to the lines recombination, allowing the successful identification of 16 quantitative trait loci (QTL). Different allelic effects were observed for the introgressed QTL alleles. Several candidate genes were identified in the QTL regions associated with plant growth, yield, fruit size, and NUE-related parameters. Our results show that eggplant materials with introgressions from CWRs can result in a dramatic impact in eggplant breeding for a more sustainable agriculture.