Rosbreed enabling marker-assisted breeding in Rosaceae A predictive genetic test for apple "fresh sensation" to provide strategies for improved breeding and fruit handling
Van de Weg, Eric
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Discoveries in genomics have provided new information on genetic control of important traits. Converting these discoveries into genetic tools would enhance efficiency of apple breeding via marker-assisted selection compared to conventional phenotype-based approaches. Developing new cultivars that produce delicious fruit in abundance is the major goal of the Washington apple breeding program. A component of this deliciousness in fruit of new cultivars would be consistent delivery of a fresh sensation after long term storage. We define apple fresh sensation as a combination of crispness, acidity, and juiciness. A location in the apple genome associated with these valuable traits, the Malic acid or Ma locus, was reported a decade ago. We have identified variants of the Ma locus that appear to predispose certain cultivars to more consistently produce apples with a fresh sensation – high acidity, crispness, and juiciness. Refinement is underway of a predictive genetic test that can identify these variants through pedigree-based analysis and thereby predict genetic potential for fresh sensation. Screening many apple varieties for two simple sequence repeat markers flanking the Ma locus revealed numerous variants associated with fresh sensation differences. High-resolution SNP data from the RosBREED project is further refining our genetic test.