A functional genetic marker for apple red skin coloration across different environments
The red skin color desired by most apple consumers is not easy to achieve in warm climates, as the expression of MYB10, which regulates red pigmentation in apple, is influenced negatively by high temperatures. We describe the development and validation of a genetic marker for red skin coloration that effectively predicts color in a warm summer environment in Spain, as well as more temperate climates in New Zealand and Italy. Following the determination of a major-effect quantitative trait locus (QTL) controlling red skin coloration on linkage group (LG)9, using four segregating populations grown in New Zealand, and screened using the IRSC apple 8-K single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array, the most significant SNP marker (ss475879531) was transformed into a marker suitable for use in a real-time PCR assay. This marker was validated using five apple seedling populations growing in a warm summer environment in Spain, demonstrating that the marker system efficiently predicts red skin coloration and can be used for marker assisted selection, even under conditions considered adverse for skin color development.
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