Article

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: 3.3). 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.

0 Followers
 · 
108 Views
  • 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
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Crop domestication is often accompanied by changes in metabolite compositions that alter traits such as flavor, color, or other beneficial properties. Fruits of eggplants (Solanum melongena L.) and related species are abundant and diverse in pharmacologically interesting phenolic compounds, particularly hydroxycinnamic acid (HCA) conjugates such as the antioxidant caffeoylquinic acids (CQA) and HCA-polyamine amides (HCAA). To understand metabolite variability through the lens of natural and artificial selection, HPLC-DAD was used to generate phenolic profiles for 32 compounds in fruits from 93 accessions representing 9 Solanum species. Profiles were used for identification of species-level and infraspecific chemical patterns across both genetic distance and landscape. Sampling of plant lines included the undomesticated progenitor of eggplant and Asian landraces with a genetic background associated with three Asian regions near proposed separate centers of domestication to test whether chemical changes were convergent despite different origins. Results showed ten compounds were unique to species, and ten other compounds varied significantly in abundance among species. Five CQAs and three HCA-polyamine conjugates were more abundant in wild (undomesticated) versus domesticated eggplant, indicating that artificial selection may have led to reduced phenolic levels. No chemical abundance patterns were associated with site-origin. However, one genetically distinct lineage of geographically-restricted SE Asian eggplants (S. melongena subsp. ovigerum) had a higher HCAA content and diversity than other lineages, which is suggested to be related to artificial selection for small, firm fruit. Overall, patterns show that fruit size, palatability and texture were preferentially selected over health-beneficial phytochemical content during domestication of several nightshade crops. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
    Phytochemistry 03/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.phytochem.2015.02.006 · 3.35 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Download
91 Downloads
Available from
May 26, 2014