Genetic analysis of the wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca) volatile composition
The volatile composition of wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca) fruit differs from that of the cultivated strawberry, having more intense and fruity aromas. Over the last few years, the diploid F. vesca has been recognized as a model species for genetic studies of cultivated strawberry (F. x ananassa), and here a previously developed F. vesca/F. bucharica Near Isogenic Line collection (NIL) was used to explore genetic variability of fruit quality traits. Analysis of fruit volatiles by GC-MS in our NIL collection revealed a complex and highly variable profile. One hundred compounds were unequivocally identified, including esters, aldehydes, ketones, alcohols, terpenoids, furans and lactones. Those in a subset, named key volatile compounds (KVCs), are likely contributors to the special aroma/flavour of wild strawberry. Genetic analysis revealed 50 major quantitative trait loci (QTL) including 14 QTL for KVCs, and one segregating as a dominant monogenetic trait for nerolidol. The most determinant regions affecting QTLs for KVCs, were mapped on LG5 and LG7. New candidate genes for the volatile QTL are proposed, based on differences in gene expression between NILs containing specific fragments of F. bucharica and the F. vesca recurrent genome. A high percentage of these candidate genes/alleles were colocalized within the boundaries of introgressed regions that contain QTLs, appearing to affect volatile metabolite accumulation acting in cis. A NIL collection is a good tool for the genetic dissection of volatile accumulation in wild strawberry fruit and a source of information for genes and alleles which may enhance aroma in cultivated strawberry.
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