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posted on 06.03.2018, 04:33 by Isidore A. Diouf, Laurent Derivot, Frédérique Bitton, Laura Pascual, Mathilde Causse

Quality is a key trait in plant breeding, especially for fruit and vegetables. Quality involves several polygenic components, often influenced by environmental conditions with variable levels of genotype × environment interaction that must be considered in breeding strategies aiming to improve quality. In order to assess the impact of water deficit and salinity on tomato fruit quality, we evaluated a multi-parent advanced generation intercross (MAGIC) tomato population in contrasted environmental conditions over 2 years, one year in control vs. drought condition and the other in control vs. salt condition. Overall 250 individual lines from the MAGIC population—derived from eight parental lines covering a large diversity in cultivated tomato—were used to identify QTL in both experiments for fruit quality and yield component traits (fruit weight, number of fruit, Soluble Solid Content, firmness), phenology traits (time to flower and ripe) and a vegetative trait, leaf length. All the traits showed a large genotype variation (33–86% of total phenotypic variation) in both experiments and high heritability whatever the year or treatment. Significant genotype × treatment interactions were detected for five of the seven traits over the 2 years of experiments. QTL were mapped using 1,345 SNP markers. A total of 54 QTL were found among which 15 revealed genotype × environment interactions and 65% (35 QTL) were treatment specific. Confidence intervals of the QTL were projected on the genome physical map and allowed identifying regions carrying QTL co-localizations, suggesting pleiotropic regulation. We then applied a strategy for candidate gene detection based on the high resolution mapping offered by the MAGIC population, the allelic effect of each parental line at the QTL and the sequence information of the eight parental lines.

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