A comparative genetic linkage map of eggplant (Solanum melongena) and its implications for genome evolution in the Solanaceae
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A molecular genetic linkage map based on tomato cDNA, genomic DNA, and EST markers was constructed for eggplant, Solanum melongena. The map consists of 12 linkage groups, spans 1480 cM, and contains 233 markers. Comparison of the eggplant and tomato maps revealed conservation of large tracts of colinear markers, a common feature of genome evolution in the Solanaceae and other plant families. Overall, eggplant and tomato were differentiated by 28 rearrangements, which could be explained by 23 paracentric inversions and five translocations during evolution from the species' last common ancestor. No pericentric inversions were detected. Thus, it appears that paracentric inversion has been the primary mechanism for chromosome evolution in the Solanaceae. Comparison of relative distributions of the types of rearrangements that distinguish pairs of solanaceous species also indicates that the frequency of different chromosomal structural changes was not constant over evolutionary time. On the basis of the number of chromosomal disruptions and an approximate divergence time for Solanum, ∼0.19 rearrangements per chromosome per million years occurred during the evolution of eggplant and tomato from their last ancestor. This result suggests that genomes in Solanaceae, or at least in Solanum, are evolving at a moderate pace compared to other plant species.