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Review Article|15 Oct 2018|OPEN
Malus sieversii: the origin, flavonoid synthesis mechanism, and breeding of red-skinned and red-fleshed apples
Nan Wang1,2, Shenghui Jiang1,2, Zongying Zhang1,2, Hongcheng Fang1,2, Haifeng Xu1,2, Yicheng Wang1,2 & Xuesen Chen1,2,
1State Key Laboratory of Crop Biology, Shandong Agricultural University, Tai’an 271018 Shandong, China
2Collaborative Innovation Center of Fruit & Vegetable Quality and Efficient Production, Tai’an 271000 Shandong, China

Horticulture Research 5,
Article number: 70 (2018)
doi: 10.1038/hortres.2018.70
Views: 908

Received: 15 Mar 2018
Revised: 07 Aug 2018
Accepted: 10 Aug 2018
Published online: 15 Oct 2018


Flavonoids play essential roles in human health. Apple (Malus domestica Borkh.), one of the most widely produced and economically important fruit crops in temperate regions, is a significant source of flavonoids in the human diet and is among the top nutritionally rated and most widely consumed fruits worldwide. Epidemiological studies have shown that the consumption of apples, which are rich in a variety of free and easily absorbable flavonoids, is associated with a decreased risk of various diseases. However, apple production is challenged by serious inbreeding problems. The narrowing of the hereditary base has resulted in apples with poor nutritional quality and low flavonoid contents. Recently, there have been advances in our understanding of the roles that Malus sieversii (Ledeb.) M.Roem has played in the process of apple domestication and breeding. In this study, we review the origin of cultivated apples and red-fleshed apples, and discuss the genetic diversity and construction of the core collections of M. sieversii. We also discuss current research progress and breeding programs on red-skinned and red-fleshed apples and summarize the exploitation and utilization of M. sieversii in the breeding of high-flavonoid, and red-fleshed apples. This study highlights a valuable pattern of horticultural crop breeding using wild germplasm resources. The future challenges and directions of research on the molecular mechanisms of flavonoid accumulation and high-flavonoid apple breeding are discussed.