Prunus fruit development, growth, ripening, and senescence includes major biochemical and sensory changes in texture, color, and flavor. The genetic dissection of these complex processes has important applications in crop improvement, to facilitate maximizing and maintaining stone fruit quality from production and processing through to marketing and consumption. Here we present an integrated fruit quality gene map of Prunus containing 133 genes putatively involved in the determination of fruit texture, pigmentation, flavor, and chilling injury resistance.
A genetic linkage map of 211 markers was constructed for an intraspecific peach (Prunus persica) progeny population, Pop-DG, derived from a canning peach cultivar 'Dr. Davis' and a fresh market cultivar 'Georgia Belle'. The Pop-DG map covered 818 cM of the peach genome and included three morphological markers, 11 ripening candidate genes, 13 cold-responsive genes, 21 novel EST-SSRs from the ChillPeach database, 58 previously reported SSRs, 40 RAFs, 23 SRAPs, 14 IMAs, and 28 accessory markers from candidate gene amplification. The Pop-DG map was co-linear with the Prunus reference T × E map, with 39 SSR markers in common to align the maps. A further 158 markers were bin-mapped to the reference map: 59 ripening candidate genes, 50 cold-responsive genes, and 50 novel EST-SSRs from ChillPeach, with deduced locations in Pop-DG via comparative mapping. Several candidate genes and EST-SSRs co-located with previously reported major trait loci and quantitative trait loci for chilling injury symptoms in Pop-DG.
The candidate gene approach combined with bin-mapping and availability of a community-recognized reference genetic map provides an efficient means of locating genes of interest in a target genome. We highlight the co-localization of fruit quality candidate genes with previously reported fruit quality QTLs. The fruit quality gene map developed here is a valuable tool for dissecting the genetic architecture of fruit quality traits in Prunus crops.