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Genetic control of pear rootstock-induced dwarfing and precocity is linked to a chromosomal region syntenic to the apple Dw1 loci

Knäbel, Mareike, Friend, Adam P., Palmer, John W., Diack, Robert, Wiedow, Claudia, Alspach, Peter, Deng, Cecilia, Gardiner, Susan E., Tustin, D. Stuart, Schaffer, Robert, Foster, Toshi, Chagné, David
BMC plant biology 2015 v.15 no.1 pp. 230
Pyrus communis, alleles, apples, breeding, cultivars, dwarfing, early development, flowering, germplasm, growing season, hydroxyl radicals, linkage groups, loci, microsatellite repeats, pears, quantitative trait loci, rootstocks, scions, seedlings, single nucleotide polymorphism, trees, vigor
BACKGROUND: The vigour and precocity of trees highly influences their efficiency in commercial production. In apple, dwarfing rootstocks allow high-density plantings while their precocious flowering enables earlier fruit production. Currently, there is a lack of pear (Pyrus communis L.) rootstocks that are equivalent to the high yielding apple rootstock ‘M9’. For the efficient breeding of new Pyrus rootstocks it is crucial to understand the genetic determinants of vigour control and precocity. In this study we used quantitative trait loci (QTLs) analysis to identify genetic loci associated with the desired traits, using a segregating population of 405 F1 P. communis seedlings from a cross between ‘Old Home’ and ‘Louise Bonne de Jersey’ (OHxLBJ). The seedlings were grafted as rootstocks with ‘Doyenne du Comice’ scions and comprehensively phenotyped over four growing seasons for traits related to tree architecture and flowering, in order to describe the growth of the scions. RESULTS: A high density single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-based genetic map comprising 597 polymorphic pear and 113 apple markers enabled the detection of QTLs influencing expression of scion vigour and precocity located on linkage groups (LG)5 and LG6 of ‘Old Home’. The LG5 QTL maps to a position that is syntenic to the apple ‘Malling 9’ (‘M9’) Dw1 locus at the upper end of LG5. An allele of a simple sequence repeat (SSR) associated with apple Dw1 segregated with dwarfing and precocity in pear and was identified in other pear germplasm accessions. The orthology of the vigour-controlling LG5 QTL between apple and pear raises the possibility that the dwarfing locus Dw1 arose before the divergence of apple and pear, and might therefore be present in other Rosaceae species. CONCLUSION: We report the first QTLs associated with vigour control and flowering traits in pear rootstocks. Orthologous loci were found to control scion growth and precocity in apple and pear rootstocks. The application of our results may assist in the breeding process of a pear rootstock that confers both vigour control and precocity to the grafted scion cultivar.