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QTLs associated with flesh quality traits in an elite × elite watermelon population

Fall, Leigh Ann, Perkins-Veazie, Penelope, Ma, Guoying, McGregor, Cecilia
Euphytica 2019 v.215 no.2 pp. 30
arginine, brix, chemical constituents of plants, chromosomes, citrulline, color, fructose, fruits, germplasm, glucose, heritability, inbred lines, lycopene, marker-assisted selection, meat quality, plant breeding, quantitative trait loci, sucrose, total soluble solids, watermelons
Consumers prefer watermelon with sweet, red flesh, and the presence of lycopene, citrulline and arginine phytochemicals helpful for human health is an additional bonus. Breeders often select fruit with desirable flesh characteristics based on soluble solids content (Brix) and visual flesh color. Although marker assisted selection (MAS) of flesh traits would advance germplasm selection efficiency, the low heritability of Brix and lycopene content in red fleshed watermelon has hampered marker development. Here we describe the identification of QTLs associated with lycopene content, the amino acids citrulline and arginine, and the content of individual sugar (sucrose, glucose, fructose) in an elite × elite recombinant inbred line (RIL) population. Brix was most highly correlated with total sugars and glucose content, lycopene content was correlated with sucrose content, and citrulline and arginine content showed no correlation. A region on chromosome 5 was associated with sucrose, glucose, and fructose accumulation, while stable arginine content QTLs were identified on chromosomes 2 and 5.