Genetics and Biochemistry, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634, USA.
Commercial production of apricot is severely affected by sensitivity to climatic conditions, an adaptive feature essential for cycling between vegetative or floral growth and dormancy. Yield losses are due to late winter or early spring frosts and inhibited vegetative or floral growth caused by unfulfilled chilling requirement (CR). Two apricot cultivars, Perfection and A.1740, were selected for high and low CR, respectively, to develop a mapping population of F1 individuals using a two-way pseudo-testcross mapping strategy. High-density male and female maps were constructed using, respectively, 655 and 592 markers (SSR and AFLP) spanning 550.6 and 454.9 cM with average marker intervals of 0.84 and 0.77 cM. CR was evaluated in two seasons on potted trees forced to break buds after cold treatments ranging from 100 to 900 h. A total of 12 putative CR quantitative trait loci (QTLs) were detected on six linkage groups using composite interval mapping and a simultaneous multiple regression fit. QTL main effects of additive and additive x additive interactions accounted for 58.5% +/- 6.7% and 66.1% +/- 5.8% of the total phenotypic variance in the Perfection and A.1740 maps, respectively. We report two apricot high-density maps and QTLs corresponding to map positions of differentially expressed transcripts and suggested candidate genes controlling CR.
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