Genetic determinism of phenological traits highly affected by climate change in Prunus avium: flowering date dissected into chilling and heat requirements
The present study investigated the genetic determinism of flowering date (FD), dissected into chilling (CR) and heat (HR) requirements. Elucidation of the genetic determinism of flowering traits is crucial to anticipate the increasing of ecological misalignment of adaptative traits with novel climate conditions in most temperate-fruit species. CR and HR were evaluated over 3 yr and FD over 5 yr in an intraspecific sweet cherry (Prunus avium) F1 progeny, and FD over 6 yr in a different F1 progeny. One quantitative trait locus (QTL) with major effect and high stability between years of evaluation was detected for CR and FD in the same region of linkage group (LG) 4. For HR, no stable QTL was detected. Candidate genes underlying the major QTL on LG4 were investigated and key genes were identified for CR and FD. Phenotypic dissection of FD and year repetitions allowed us to identify CR as the high heritable component of FD and a high genotype × environment interaction for HR. QTLs for CR reported in this study are the first described in this species. Our results provide a foundation for the identification of genes involved in CR and FD in sweet cherry which could be used to develop ideotypes adapted to future climatic conditions.
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