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Open Access Research article

Quantitative trait loci affecting reproductive phenology in peach

José F Romeu1, Antonio J Monforte2, Gerardo Sánchez2, Antonio Granell2, Jesús García-Brunton1, María L Badenes3 and Gabino Ríos3*

Author Affiliations

1 Instituto Murciano de Investigación y Desarrollo Agrario y Alimentario (IMIDA), La Alberca, Murcia, Spain

2 Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular de Plantas (IBMCP, CSIC-UPV), Valencia, Spain

3 Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Agrarias (IVIA), Moncada, Valencia, Spain

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BMC Plant Biology 2014, 14:52  doi:10.1186/1471-2229-14-52

Published: 22 February 2014

Abstract

Background

The reproductive phenology of perennial plants in temperate climates is largely conditioned by the duration of bud dormancy, and fruit developmental processes. Bud dormancy release and bud break depends on the perception of cumulative chilling and heat during the bud development. The objective of this work was to identify new quantitative trait loci (QTLs) associated to temperature requirements for bud dormancy release and flowering and to fruit harvest date, in a segregating population of peach.

Results

We have identified QTLs for nine traits related to bud dormancy, flowering and fruit harvest in an intraspecific hybrid population of peach in two locations differing in chilling time accumulation. QTLs were located in a genetic linkage map of peach based on single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers for eight linkage groups (LGs) of the peach genome sequence. QTLs for chilling requirements for dormancy release and blooming clustered in seven different genomic regions that partially coincided with loci identified in previous works. The most significant QTL for chilling requirements mapped to LG1, close to the evergrowing locus. QTLs for heat requirement related traits were distributed in nine genomic regions, four of them co-localizing with QTLs for chilling requirement trait. Two major loci in LG4 and LG6 determined fruit harvest time.

Conclusions

We identified QTLs associated to nine traits related to the reproductive phenology in peach. A search of candidate genes for these QTLs rendered different genes related to flowering regulation, chromatin modification and hormone signalling. A better understanding of the genetic factors affecting crop phenology might help scientists and breeders to predict changes in genotype performance in a context of global climate change.

Keywords:
Prunus persica; Bud dormancy; Chilling requirement; Heat requirement; Flowering; Fruit maturation; QTL