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Article|24 May 2017|OPEN
Additive QTLs on three chromosomes control flowering time in woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca L.)
Samia Samad1,2 , Takeshi Kurokura3 , Elli Koskela1 , Tuomas Toivainen1 , Vipul Patel4 , Katriina Mouhu1 and Daniel James Sargent2,5 , Timo Hytönen,1,6 ,
1Department of Agricultural Sciences, Viikki Plant Science Centre, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
2Fondazione Edmund Mach, Research and Innovation Centre, San Michele All'adige, 38010 TN, Italy
3Faculty of Agriculture, Utsunomiya University, Tochigi, 321-8505, Japan
4Department of Plant Developmental Biology, Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, 50829 Cologne, Germany
5Driscoll’s Genetics Limited, East Malling Enterprise Centre, East Malling, Kent ME19 6BJ, UK
6Department of Biosciences, Viikki Plant Science Centre, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
*Corresponding author. E-mail: timo.hytonen@helsinki.fi

Horticulture Research 4,
Article number: 20 (2017)
doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/hortres.2017.20
Views: 5014

Received: 07 Sep 2016
Revised: 21 Apr 2017
Accepted: 21 Apr 2017
Published online: 24 May 2017

Abstract

Flowering time is an important trait that affects survival, reproduction and yield in both wild and cultivated plants. Therefore, many studies have focused on the identification of flowering time quantitative trait locus (QTLs) in different crops, and molecular control of this trait has been extensively investigated in model species. Here we report the mapping of QTLs for flowering time and vegetative traits in a large woodland strawberry mapping population that was phenotyped both under field conditions and in a greenhouse after flower induction in the field. The greenhouse experiment revealed additive QTLs in three linkage groups (LG), two on both LG4 and LG7, and one on LG6 that explain about half of the flowering time variance in the population. Three of the QTLs were newly identified in this study, and one co-localized with the previously characterized FvTFL1 gene. An additional strong QTL corresponding to previously mapped PFRU was detected in both field and greenhouse experiments indicating that gene(s) in this locus can control the timing of flowering in different environments in addition to the duration of flowering and axillary bud differentiation to runners and branch crowns. Several putative flowering time genes were identified in these QTL regions that await functional validation. Our results indicate that a few major QTLs may control flowering time and axillary bud differentiation in strawberries. We suggest that the identification of causal genes in the diploid strawberry may enable fine tuning of flowering time and vegetative growth in the closely related octoploid cultivated strawberry.