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Genetic diversity and relatedness in crop germplasm is important to design strategies to improve traits and evaluate new varieties in okra by using the appropriate breeding technique. Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus L.) is an important multi-purpose vegetable crop cultivated and consumed across all tropical and temperate regions of the world. Two cultivars, Egyptian and Japanese, having a broad genetic background and phenotypic diversity were chosen as parents and were crossbred in both directions to assess intra-specific hybridization between these two cultivars. A significant variation between parents and corresponding hybrids was found in morphological characters including qualitative and quantitative characters such as main stem height, internode length, leaf area, petiole color, fruit color and fruit pubescence. The F1 hybrid plants were intermediate showing the dominant characters. They were tall with average height (80.3 cm), having red color petiole and fruit. The anthocyanin contents were higher in Egyptian mothers (103 mg/g FW) followed by Egyptian cultivar × Japanese cultivar (62.84 mg/g DW) and Japanese cultivar × Egyptian cultivar (46.07 mg/g DW). Petal blotch is on both sides similar to Japanese mother, while in Egyptian mothers petal blotch positioned inside only. Physiological attributes and metabolite contents were also assessed including total chlorophyll content, ascorbic acid, phenolics, flavonoids, carbohydrates, protein and saponins. The results indicated that the two intra specific hybrids consist of genetic material from both Egyptian and Japanese cultivars. The F1 hybrid characteristics were better and possessed desirable characters confirming that crossbreeding could be a useful tool for okra crop improvement.
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