, 215:21 | Cite as

Association mapping of agro-morphological traits in European hazelnut (Corylus avellana)

  • Amy Frary
  • Suleyman Can Öztürk
  • Hüseyin Irfan Balık
  • Selda Kayalak Balık
  • Gökhan Kızılcı
  • Sami Doğanlar
  • Anne FraryEmail author


More than half of European hazelnut (Corylus avellana) production occurs in Turkey. Despite this dominance, the yield of Turkish cultivars has remained stagnant over the past 10 years with Italian yield nearly double that in Turkey. This difference is due to Turkey’s unique cultivation system; hazelnuts are grown in bushy clusters (“ocak” system), not as single trees. Current hazelnut breeding efforts are shifting toward the development of materials for single plant orchards which are much higher yielding; thus, there is a need to explore germplasm for relevant agro-morphological traits and to determine their genetic control. The objectives of this study were to examine data for 44 such traits in 390 hazelnut accessions: 16 cultivars, 232 landraces and 142 wild individuals from nine provinces in Turkey and to map the loci associated with these characteristics using simple sequence repeat markers. Comparison of cultivars, landraces and wild hazelnut accessions revealed the effects of domestication and selection on the crop and indicated that useful alleles for traits such as cropping and reduced alternate bearing may exist in the wild germplasm. A total of 145 quantitative trait loci (QTL) were detected with the largest proportions identified for involucre (26%) and inflorescence (14%) morphology. Several markers co-localized with more than one trait including markers for male catkin abundance which were shared with plant vigor and height. Similarly, markers for female flower abundance co-localized with suckering and alternate bearing. Such markers and their linked QTL should be studied in more detail as they might help breeders select for plant vigor, decreased suckering and increased flower production: traits which will be extremely useful for Turkey’s transition to single plant orchards.


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



This study was supported by The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK, Project No. 212T201). We are grateful to Teberdar Çalişkan and Engin Çetiner for phenotypic characterization of the hazelnut material.

Authors’ contribution

AF analyzed results and drafted manuscript; SCÖ 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.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Data archiving

Data will be available at upon publication.

Supplementary material

10681_2019_2352_MOESM1_ESM.docx (109 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 108 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

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

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