Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Molecular diversity and its relationship with hybrid performance and heterosis in ash gourd [Benincasa hispida (Thunb.) Cogn.].

Abstract

Ash gourd or wax gourd [Benincasa hispida (Thunb.) Cogn.], belonging to the family Cucurbitaceae, is an underexploited vegetable in spite of having considerable economic and medicinal importance. Very little information is available on the genetic diversity and exploitation of heterosis in this crop. In the present study, nine inbred lines of ash gourd were crossed to produce all (72) possible F1 hybrids, including reciprocals, which were evaluated along with the nine parents for 13 growth- and yield-related traits and 14 quality traits, in a replicated field trial. A high level of heterosis was observed among the hybrids for most of the traits examined, including iron and zinc content. Significant reciprocal differences in heterosis were observed. The inbred lines were analysed using 130 RAPD primers, of which 26 were informative and amplified 163 DNA marker bands. A total of 47 polymorphic bands were obtained with a mean of 1.8 per primer which, in combination, discriminated all the inbreds from each other. Pair-wise genetic distance measurements ranged from 0.056 to 0.179, suggesting a narrow genetic base for the inbreds. Although the results indicated significant positive correlations of genetic distance with hybrid performance and heterosis, the magnitudes of the correlations were not high enough to be of predictive value.