Plant science : an international journal of experimental plant biology

QTL validation and stability for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in apple.

PMID 23987805


The aroma trait in apple is a key factor for fruit quality strongly affecting the consumer appreciation, and its detection and analysis is often an extremely laborious and time consuming procedure. Molecular markers associated to this trait can to date represent a valuable selection tool to overcome these limitations. QTL mapping is the first step in the process of targeting valuable molecular markers to be employed in marker-assisted breeding programmes (MAB). However, a validation step is usually required before a newly identified molecular marker can be implemented in marker-assisted selection. In this work the position of a set of QTLs associated to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) was confirmed and validated in three different environments in Switzerland, namely Wädenswil, Conthey and Cadenazzo, where the progeny 'Fiesta×Discovery' was replicated. For both QTL identification and validation, the phenotypic data were represented by VOCs produced by mature apple fruit and assessed with a Proton Transfer Reaction-Mass Spectrometer (PTR-MS) instrument. The QTL-VOC combined analysis performed among these three locations validated the presence of important QTLs in three specific genomic regions, two located in the linkage group 2 and one in linkage group 15, respectively, for compounds related to esters (m/z 43, 61 and 131) and to the hormone ethylene (m/z 28). The QTL set presented here confirmed that in apple some compounds are highly genetically regulated and stable across environments.