Identification of simple sequence repeat markers tightly linked to plum pox virus resistancein apricot
Sharka disease, caused by the plum pox virus (PPV), is one of the major limiting factors for stone fruit production in Europe and America. Attempts to stop the disease through the eradication of infected trees have been unsuccessful. Introgression of PPV resistance for crop improvement is therefore the most important goal in Prunus breeding programs. Due to time- and labour-consuming protocols, phenotyping for sharka is still the major bottleneck in the breeding pipeline. In this context, screening of seedlings at early stages of development and marker-assisted selection (MAS) provide the best solution for enhancing breeding efficiency. In this study, we generated 42 simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers from the peach genome assembly v1.0 and an apricot bacterial artificial chromosome clone identified in the physical map of the PPV resistance locus previously defined in apricot. Using a linkage mapping approach, we found SSR markers tightly linked to PPV resistance trait in all our progenies. Three SSR markers, PGS1.21 PGS1.23 and PGS1.24, showed allelic variants associated with PPV resistance with no recombinants in the crosses analysed. These markers unambiguously discriminated resistant from susceptible accessions in different genetic backgrounds. The results presented here are the first successful application of their use in MAS for breeding resistance in Prunus species.
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