Identification and mapping of a locus conferring plum pox virus resistance in two apricot-improved linkage maps
Sharka disease, caused by the plum pox virus (PPV), is one of the major limiting factors for stone fruit crops in Europe and America. In particular, apricot is severely affected suffering significant fruit losses. Thus, PPV resistance is a trait of great interest for the apricot breeding programs currently in progress. In this work, two apricot maps, earlier constructed with the F1 ‘Goldrich × Currot’ (G×C) and the F2 ‘Lito × Lito’-98 (L×L-98) populations, have been improved including 43 and 37 new simple sequence repeat (SSR) loci, respectively, to facilitate PPV resistance trait mapping. Screening of PPV resistance on the segregating populations classified seedling phenotypes into resistant or susceptible. A non-parametric mapping method, based on the Kruskal–Wallis (KW) rank sum test, was initially used to score marker–trait association, and results were confirmed by interval mapping. Contrary to the putative digenic model inferred from the phenotypic segregations, all significant markers for the KW statistic (P < 0.005) mapped in a unique region of ~21.0 and ~20.3 cM located on the upper part of the G1 linkage group in ‘G×C’ and ‘L×L-98’ maps, respectively. According to the data, PPV resistance is suggested to be controlled by at least one major dominant locus. The association between three SSRs distributed within this region and the PPV resistance was tested in two additional populations (‘Goldrich × Canino’ and ‘Lito × Lito’-00) and breeding program parents. The marker ssrPaCITA5 showed the highest KW value (P < 0.005) in all cases, pointing out its usefulness in marker-assisted selection.