Wild relatives of eggplants represent a good source of variation for breeding programmes, in particular for traits related to biotic and abiotic stresses and also fruit quality traits. However, wild species remain largely unexploited for eggplant breeding compared to other crops like tomato. Seven cultivated eggplant accessions (SM001-02, SM001-04, SM001-06, SM001-07, SA002-02, SA002-03 and SMA003-03) were crossed with three wild accessions (ST004-03 (Solanum tovum), San005-01 (Solanum anguivi) and SA002-08 (Solanum aethiopicum)) in an open field using completely randomized design. The success of fruit and seed set as well as seed germination depended on the cross combination and the direction of the cross. In this regard, no fruit set was recorded when the wild accessions were used as female parents. The highest fruit set and mean number of seeds/fruit was obtained from the crosses Sm001-07 × ST004-03 (6%; 264 seeds) and Sm001-07 × San005-01 (5.7%, 114 seeds), respectively. The germination of hybrid seeds was recorded in only three crosses, SM001-07 × ST004-03, SM001-07 × San005-01 and SA002-02 × San005-01 with germination range from 3.3 to 16.6%. However, plantlets from these seeds did not survive after two weeks of germination. The hybridity of the putative interspecific F1 hybrids (through tissue culture) was confirmed with a morphological marker. These hybrids obtained will contribute to broadening the genetic background of cultivated eggplant species used in this study and to the genetic enhancement of this crop.
Key words: Crossability, eggplant, fruit set, germination, introgression, seed set, wild relatives.