Germplasm resources and genetic improvement of Akebia: A new fruit crop in China
Shuai-Yu Zou, Chen Feng, Pu-Xin Gao, Tong-Jian Li, Tian-Jiao Jia,Hongwen Huang*
Akebia species, belonging to Lardizabalaceae, are widespread from subtropical to temperate environments of China, Japan, and Korea. All known Akebia species have medicinal and dietary value and have been widely cultivated as a new fruit crop in many areas of China. However, compared with other crop species, the breeding improvement and commercial cultivation of Akebia remain in their infancy. This review systematically introduces the present germplasm resources, geographical distribution, biological characteristics, interspecific and intraspecific cross compatibility, molecular biology, and breeding progress in Akebia species. Akebia plants are widely distributed in Shanxi, Henan, Sichuan, Chongqing,Hunan, Hubei, Jiangxi, Zhejiang, and Fujian provinces of China, and wild Akebia plants exhibit abundant phenotypic and genetic diversity due to their wide range of geographical distribution and high adaptability in different habitats. Interspecific artificial hybridization experiments have been conducted in our Akebia germplasm resources nursery. The results showed that there was no reproductive isolation between Akebia species, and fertile progeny could be produced. The synthesis of knowledge on these species provides insights for the rational development and utilization of these germplasm resources, and can facilitate the development of new breeding lines or varieties for commercial cultivation or production.Finally, perspectives on Akebia breeding research are discussed and conclusions are provided.This review provided breeders with new insights into Akebia domestication and breeding, and we also proposed five basic steps in the domestication of new fruit crops.