Ancient Chinese literature reveals pathways of eggplant domestication.

State Key Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China.
Annals of Botany (Impact Factor: 3.45). 10/2008; 102(6):891-7. DOI: 10.1093/aob/mcn179
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Changes in key traits occurring during the processes of plant domestication have long been subjects of debate. Only in the case of genetic analysis or with extensive plant remains can specific sets of changes be documented. Historical details of the plant domestication processes are rare and other evidence of morphological change can be difficult to obtain, especially for those vegetables that lack a substantial body of archaeological data. Botanical records chronicled in the ancient literature of established ancient civilizations, such as that of China, are invaluable resources for the study and understanding of the process of plant domestication. Here, the considerable body of ancient Chinese literature is used to explore the domestication process that has occurred with the eggplant (Solanum melongena), an important vegetable in Old World.
Information about eggplant domestication in the ancient Chinese literature was retrieved using a variety of methods. The information obtained was then sorted by taxon, examined and taxonomic identifications verified.
It was found that the earliest record of the eggplant documented in ancient Chinese literature was in a work from 59 bc. As far as is known, this is the earliest reliable and accurately dated record of eggplant in cultivation. The analysis reveals that the process of domestication of the eggplant in China involved three principal aspects of fruit quality: size, shape and taste. These traits were actively and gradually selected; fruit size changed from small to large, taste changed from not palatable to what was termed at the time sweetish, and that over time, a wider variety of fruit shapes was cultivated.
The results indicate that, in addition to data gleaned from archaeology and genetics, evidence as to changes in key traits occurring during the process of plant domestication and selective forces responsible for these changes can be traced through the ancient literature in some civilizations.

  • Source
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Detailed characterization of fruit shape in eggplant (Solanum melongena) is important for horticultur-ists and breeders. In fact, commercial varieties are classified according to their fruit shape. However,traditional morphological descriptors provide limited information on this complex attribute. Recently, asoftware tool (Tomato Analyzer) for the processing of scanned images of sections of tomato fruits has beendeveloped. Tomato Analyzer is adequate for phenomics studies of fruit shape, as it provides quantitativeand objective data for a large number of fruit morphology traits. We used Tomato Analyzer for evaluatingfruit shape in a collection of 21 accessions of eggplant from four varietal groups (Round, Listada de Gandía,Semi-long, and Long). For each accession we evaluated 20 fruits, for which we measured fruit weight,length, and width (manually), and 23 fruit shape parameters using the Tomato Analyzer. Significant dif-ferences among accessions have been found for all traits, except for Shoulders Height. For many traits,high values for the coefficient of genotypic variation (CVG) and broad-sense heritability (H2) have beenobtained, indicating that selection will be efficient. Significant differences have also been found amongvarietal groups for 20 out of the 26 traits, and for six of them each of the four varietal groups differedsignificantly from the others. Multivariate principal components analysis (PCA) shows that accessions ofeach of the four varietal groups plot together and in separate areas of the PCA graph, with the exceptionof some overlapping between Round and Listada de Gandía accessions. Discriminant analysis resulted in57.14% of the individual fruits being correctly assigned to their accession, and of those incorrectly classi-fied, 21.67% were correctly classified to their varietal group. The results obtained show that the TomatoAnalyzer image software tool is of great utility for phenomics studies of fruit shape in eggplant, which isof interest for characterization of germplasm and cultivars, and for selection and breeding.
    Scientia Horticulturae 12/2013; 164:625 - 632. DOI:10.1016/j.scienta.2013.10.028 · 1.50 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Domestication of fruit and vegetables resulted in a huge diversity of shapes and sizes of the produce. Selections that took place over thousands of years of alleles that increased fruit weight and altered shape for specific culinary uses provide a wealth of resources to study the molecular bases of this diversity. Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) evolved from a wild ancestor (S. pimpinellifolium) bearing small and round edible fruit. Molecular genetic studies led to the identification of two genes selected for fruit weight: FW2.2 encoding a member of the Cell Number Regulator family; and FW3.2 encoding a P450 enzyme and the ortholog of KLUH. Four genes were identified that were selected for fruit shape: SUN encoding a member of the IQD family of calmodulin-binding proteins leading to fruit elongation; OVATE encoding a member of the OVATE family proteins involved in transcriptional repression leading to fruit elongation; LC encoding most likely the ortholog of WUSCHEL controlling meristem size and locule number; FAS encoding a member in the YABBY family controlling locule number leading to flat or oxheart shape. For this article, we will provide an overview of the putative function of the known genes, when during floral and fruit development they are hypothesized to act and their potential importance in regulating morphological diversity in other fruit and vegetable crops.
    Frontiers in Plant Science 05/2014; 5:227. DOI:10.3389/fpls.2014.00227 · 3.64 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
May 26, 2014