Wide range QTL analysis for complex architectural traits in a 1-year old apple progeny
The present study aimed at investigating the genetic determinisms of architectural traits in a 1-year-old apple (Malus x domestica Borkh.). F1 progeny. A precise phenotyping including both tree topology and geometry was performed on 123 offspring. For a wide range of developmental traits, broad-sense heritability was estimated and quantitative trait loci (QTLs) were investigated. Several loci controlling geometry were identified (i) for integrated traits, such as tree surface and volume; (ii) for traits related to the form of long sylleptic axillary shoots (LSAS), such as bending and basis angle; and (iii) for traits of finer components, such as internode length of the trunk and LSAS. Considering topology, 4 QTLs were mapped for the total number of sylleptic branching in the tree, suggesting a strong and complex genetic control that was analysed through colocalisations between QTLs mapped for the different shoot types (long, medium, short). Two QTLs were also mapped for a phenological trait (date of bud break). When several QTLs were detected for a trait, a linear model was built to test epistatic effects and estimate the whole percentage of variability explained. The discussion focuses on particular colocalisations and on the relevance of traits to further tree development.
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