Linkage and association mapping for the slow softening (SwS) trait in peach (P. persica L. Batsch) fruit
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Fruit texture is a crucial quality factor influencing consumer preference and shelf life. Peach (P. persica L. Batsch) is a highly perishable fruit subjected to a rapid softening after harvest. Improvement of peach shelf life is an important breeding objective, stimulating the characterization and exploitation of texture-related traits. Variants of melting (M) texture have captured an increasing interest, following the economic success of “Big Top” nectarine, one of the most cultivated varieties worldwide. “Big Top” fruit maintains a crispy texture for an extended period before the onset of the melting phase, prolonging its shelf life. Genetic determinants regulating this complex trait, defined as slow softening (SwS), are still unknown, mainly because of limitations in phenotyping methods. In this work, a mechanical approach for measuring SwS fruit texture was used to phenotype offspring derived from a cross between “Rebus028” (SwS texture) and “Max10” (M texture). Mechanical parameters were used in linkage mapping, allowing the identification of a major QTL on chromosome 8 (qSwS8.1). The presence of this QTL was validated by a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in a panel of accessions phenotyped for mechanical properties. Less significant signals were also detected by GWAS in other genomic regions, suggesting that additional loci may regulate the SwS trait, possibly depending on the genetic background. The inheritance pattern of the SwS trait and the presence of additional loci are crucial aspects to be addressed in future studies, along with a better characterization of other important textural attributes.
KeywordsGWAS Texture QTL mapping Mechanical approach
The authors wish to thank S. Foschi (CRPV, Cesena, Italy) and M. Lama (ASTRA, Faenza, Italy) for technical assistance in field and lab operations. Special thanks to ASUS for providing high-performing hardware.
AC and MC: collected phenotypic data, performed genetic analysis, and wrote the manuscript; RC, GA, CS, and IP: helped to collect phenotypic and genotypic data; LR and DB: conceived the study and critically revised it.
This work has been funded in the framework of the MAS.PES (Italian project for peach and apricot breeding) and the EU seventh Framework program FruitBreedomics project (FP7-KBBE-2010-265582).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they do not have any conflict of interest.
This study does not involve any human or animal testing.
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