Image_2_Phenotypic and molecular analyses in diploid and tetraploid genotypes of Solanum tuberosum L. reveal promising genotypes and candidate genes associated with phenolic compounds, ascorbic acid contents, and antioxidant activity.tif
Potato tubers contain biochemical compounds with antioxidant properties that benefit human health. However, the genomic basis of the production of antioxidant compounds in potatoes has largely remained unexplored. Therefore, we report the first genome-wide association study (GWAS) based on 4488 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers and the phenotypic evaluation of Total Phenols Content (TPC), Ascorbic Acid Content (AAC), and Antioxidant Activity (AA) traits in 404 diverse potato genotypes (84 diploids and 320 tetraploids) conserved at the Colombian germplasm bank that administers AGROSAVIA. The concentration of antioxidant compounds correlated to the skin tuber color and ploidy level. Especially, purple-blackish tetraploid tubers had the highest TPC (2062.41 ± 547.37 mg GAE), while diploid pink-red tubers presented the highest AA (DDPH: 14967.1 ± 4687.79 μmol TE; FRAP: 2208.63 ± 797.35 mg AAE) and AAC (4.52 mg ± 0.68 AA). The index selection allowed us to choose 20 promising genotypes with the highest values for the antioxidant compounds. Genome Association mapping identified 58 SNP-Trait Associations (STAs) with single-locus models and 28 Quantitative Trait Nucleotide (QTNs) with multi-locus models associated with the evaluated traits. Among models, eight STAs/QTNs related to TPC, AAC, and AA were detected in common, flanking seven candidate genes, from which four were pleiotropic. The combination in one population of diploid and tetraploid genotypes enabled the identification of more genetic associations. However, the GWAS analysis implemented independently in populations detected some regions in common between diploids and tetraploids not detected in the mixed population. Candidate genes have molecular functions involved in phenolic compounds, ascorbic acid biosynthesis, and antioxidant responses concerning plant abiotic stress. All candidate genes identified in this study can be used for further expression analysis validation and future implementation in marker-assisted selection pre-breeding platforms targeting fortified materials. Our study further revealed the importance of potato germplasm conserved in national genebanks, such as AGROSAVIA’s, as a valuable genetic resource to improve existing potato varieties.