Molecular Genetics and Genomics

, Volume 294, Issue 2, pp 519–527 | Cite as

Analysis of European hazelnut (Corylus avellana) reveals loci for cultivar improvement and the effects of domestication and selection on nut and kernel traits

  • Amy Frary
  • Süleyman Can Ӧztürk
  • Hüseyin Irfan Balık
  • Selda Kayalak Balık
  • Gökhan Kızılcı
  • Sami Doğanlar
  • Anne FraryEmail author
Original Article


Turkey is a rich source of European hazelnut (Corylus avellana) germplasm with nearly 400 accessions in the national collection. This genetic material encompasses cultivars, landraces and wild genotypes which were characterized for 12 nut and 13 kernel traits over 2 years in the 1990s. Analysis of these attributes revealed both the positive and negative impacts that human selection and breeding have had on hazelnut. Thus, while selection has resulted in larger nuts and kernels, cultivars have fewer nuts per cluster and kernels with larger internal cavities. Breeding has also resulted in a propensity for cultivars to have higher proportions of double kernels and empty nuts, two traits which reduce quality and yield. In addition, it is clear that while selection has successfully increased hazelnut fat content it has not impacted overall flavor, a much more complex trait. The nut and kernel phenotypic data were combined with genotypic data from 406 simple sequence repeat marker alleles for association mapping of the quantitative trait loci (QTL) for the traits. A total of 78 loci were detected in the population with the highest proportions for nut (24%) and kernel (26%) appearance parameters followed by quality (19%), shell thickness (16%) and yield-related (15%) traits. It is hoped that some of the identified QTL will be useful for future breeding of hazelnut for improved nut and kernel yield and quality.


Filbert Microsatellites Simple sequence repeats (SSRs) Quantitative trait locus (QTL) 



We are grateful to Teberdar Ҫalişkan and Engin Ҫetiner for phenotypic characterization of the hazelnut material.

Author contributions

AF analyzed results and drafted manuscript; SCӦ generated genotypic data and performed mapping; HIB, SKB and GK provided plant material and phenotypic data; SD and AF devised experiments; AF obtained funding and revised draft. All authors approved of submitted manuscript.


This study was funded by The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK, project no: 212T201).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest. The work complies with ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by the authors.

Data availability

Data will be available at upon publication.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (TIF 2727 KB)
438_2018_1527_MOESM2_ESM.docx (12 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 11 KB)
438_2018_1527_MOESM3_ESM.docx (53 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (DOCX 53 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesMount Holyoke CollegeSouth HadleyUSA
  2. 2.Department of Molecular Biology and GeneticsIzmir Institute of TechnologyIzmirTurkey
  3. 3.Hazelnut Research InstituteGiresunTurkey
  4. 4.General Directorate of Agricultural Research and PoliciesAnkaraTurkey

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