Glimpse on Genomics and Breeding in Bitter Gourd: A Crop of the Future for Food, Nutrition and Health Security

Part of the Compendium of Plant Genomes book series (CPG)


Bitter gourd, Momordica charantia L., family Cucurbitaceae, plausibly originated in eastern Asia, is traditionally cultivated as a vegetable and medicinal crop in tropical and subtropical areas in Asia, South America, East Africa, and the Caribbean. It has a simple genome with 2n = 22 chromosomes having a genome size of around 339 Mb. All parts of this plant, mainly the fruits and the seeds, contain more than 60 phytomedicines active against more than 30 diseases including cancer and diabetes. Single plant selection, mass selection, pedigree selection, and bulk population improvement are common methods are used widely in the bitter gourd improvement program. Recent discovery of gynoecious lines and their genetics will facilitate hybrid breeding. Ample genetic diversity has been found to exist in this crop as assessed by the use of molecular markers. Association mapping led to the detection of molecular markers linked to some fruit traits and content of a couple of phytomedicines. A few molecular genetic maps have been constructed and a number of agroeconomically important qualitative and quantitative fruit traits have been mapped. Recently, a draft genome sequence has also been reported and a few studies on genotyping by sequencing and RAD sequencing have been accomplished.


Momordica charantia Phytomedicine Genetic diversity Molecular maps Gene mapping QTL Draft sequence GBS RAD-seq 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Vegetable ScienceICAR-Indian Agricultural Research InstitutePusaIndia
  2. 2.Gene Research Center, Shinshu UniversityUeda, NaganoJapan
  3. 3.ICAR-National Institute for Plant BiotechnologyPusaIndia

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