Genetic analysis of the slow-melting flesh character in peach
The slow-melting flesh (SMF) trait in peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] defines a slower process of postharvest fruit-softening than the prevalent melting flesh (MF) types. This gives a longer shelf life and a delayed harvest-time resulting in better fruit quality. Unlike other known fruit texture traits, SMF is difficult to measure and has a complex inheritance. We examined this character over 2 years in the offspring of two crosses, both with “Big Top,” an SMF nectarine, as the female parent, and with a melting flesh (MF) nectarine as the male parent (“Armking” and “Nectaross”). Following harvest, a texturometer was used to provide a textural profile analysis, and fruit firmness evolution was measured with a penetrometer over a period of 5 days’ storage at 20 °C. Linkage maps were constructed with a high-density SNP chip, and a phenotype-genotype analysis allowed the detection of three independent genomic regions where most QTLs (quantitative trait loci) were located. Two of these, on linkage groups 4 and 5, explained the variability for two characters—maturity date and firmness loss—that is, the QTL on linkage group 4 found in the MF parents and that on linkage group 5 in Big Top. A third region on linkage group 6, which identified a QTL for maturity date only in Armking, has no apparent association to the softening process. The relationship between maturity date and fruit-firmness loss and a hypothesis on the inheritance of the SMF character are discussed.
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