Quantitative trait loci and underlying candidate genes controlling agronomical and fruit quality traits in octoploid strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa)
Breeding for fruit quality traits in strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa, 2n = 8x = 56) is complex due to the polygenic nature of these traits and the octoploid constitution of this species. In order to improve the efficiency of genotype selection, the identification of quantitative trait loci (QTL) and associated molecular markers will constitute a valuable tool for breeding programs. However, the implementation of these markers in breeding programs depends upon the complexity and stability of QTLs across different environments. In this work, the genetic control of 17 agronomical and fruit quality traits was investigated in strawberry using a F(1) population derived from an intraspecific cross between two contrasting selection lines, '232' and '1392'. QTL analyses were performed over three successive years based on the separate parental linkage maps and a pseudo-testcross strategy. The integrated strawberry genetic map consists of 338 molecular markers covering 37 linkage groups, thus exceeding the 28 chromosomes. 33 QTLs were identified for 14 of the 17 studied traits and approximately 37% of them were stable over time. For each trait, 1-5 QTLs were identified with individual effects ranging between 9.2 and 30.5% of the phenotypic variation, indicating that all analysed traits are complex and quantitatively inherited. Many QTLs controlling correlated traits were co-located in homoeology group V, indicating linkage or pleiotropic effects of loci. Candidate genes for several QTLs controlling yield, anthocyanins, firmness and L-ascorbic acid are proposed based on both their co-localization and predicted function. We also report conserved QTLs among strawberry and other Rosaceae based on their syntenic location.
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