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QTL mapping of parthenocarpic fruit set in North American processing cucumber


Key message

Through a novel phenotyping method, four QTLs were consistently associated with increased parthenocarpic fruit set in North American processing cucumber that accounted for over 75 % of observed phenotypic variation.


Parthenocarpy is a desirable trait with potential for increasing yield and quality in processing cucumber production. Although many successful parthenocarpic fresh market cucumber varieties have been developed, the genetic and molecular mechanisms behind parthenocarpic expression in cucumber remain largely unknown. Since parthenocarpy is an important yield component, it is difficult to separate the true parthenocarpic character from other yield related traits. In the present study, we developed a novel phenotypic approach for parthenocarpic fruit set focusing on early fruit development. Two hundred and five F3 families derived from a cross between the highly parthenocarpic line 2A and low parthenocarpic line Gy8 were phenotypically evaluated in three greenhouse experiments. Seven QTLs associated with parthenocarpic fruit set were detected. Among them, one each on chromosomes 5 and 7 (parth5.1 and parth7.1) and two on chromosome 6 (parth6.1 and parth6.2) were consistently identified in all experiments, but their relative contribution to the total phenotypic variation was dependent on plant growth stages. While each of the four QTLs had almost equal contribution to the expression of the trait at commercial harvest stage, parth7.1 played an important role in early parthenocarpic fruit set. The results suggested that parthenocarpic fruit set can be accurately evaluated with as few as 20 nodes of growth. The QTLs identified in this study for parthenocarpic fruit set are a valuable resource for cucumber breeders interested in developing parthenocarpic cultivars and to researchers interested in the genetic and molecular mechanisms of parthenocarpic fruit set.

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The authors thank Linda Crubaugh, Luming Yang, Changlong Wen, Bree C. Lietzow, Nick Wedde, and Mary Ann Hoffelt for their technical assistance. The authors also thank Dr. Richard Lower for providing seeds of the two parental lines and partial financial support for this project. This research was supported by a US Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Research Initiative Grant (Project number 2011-51181-30661) to Y.W. Names are necessary to report factually on available data; however, the USDA neither guarantees nor warrants the standard of the product, and the use of the name by USDA implies no approval of the product to the exclusion of others that may also be suitable. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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Correspondence to Yiqun Weng.

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Communicated by S. Huang.

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Lietzow, C.D., Zhu, H., Pandey, S. et al. QTL mapping of parthenocarpic fruit set in North American processing cucumber. Theor Appl Genet 129, 2387–2401 (2016).

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  • Favorable Allele
  • Pistillate Flower
  • Yield Related Trait
  • Parthenocarpic Fruit
  • Check Variety