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Article|19 Oct 2022|OPEN
High-resolution genome-wide association study of a large Czech collection of sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) on fruit maturity and quality traits
Katerina Holu ˇ sová1 , Jana Cmejlová2 , Pavol Suran2 , Radek Cmejla2 , Jirí Sedlák2 , Lubor Zelený2 and Jan Bartos,1 ,
1Centre of the Region Haná for Biotechnological and Agricultural Research, Institute of Experimental Botany of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Slechtitel ˇ u 31, ˚ Olomouc, 779 00, Czech Republic
2Research and Breeding Institute of Pomology Holovousy Ltd., Holovousy 129, Holovousy, 508 01, Czech Republic
*Corresponding author. E-mail:

Horticulture Research 10,
Article number: uhac233 (2023)
Views: 248

Received: 13 Apr 2022
Accepted: 10 Oct 2022
Published online: 19 Oct 2022


In sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.), quantitative trait loci have been identified for fruit maturity, colour, firmness, and size to develop markers for marker-assisted selection. However, resolution is usually too low in those analyses to directly target candidate genes, and some associations are missed. In contrast, genome-wide association studies are performed on broad collections of accessions, and assemblies of reference sequences from Tieton and Satonishiki cultivars enable identification of single nucleotide polymorphisms after whole-genome sequencing, providing high marker density. Two hundred and thirty-five sweet cherry accessions were sequenced and phenotyped for harvest time and fruit colour, firmness, and size. Genome-wide association studies were used to identify single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with each trait, which were verified in breeding material consisting of 64 additional accessions. A total of 1 767 106 single nucleotide polymorphisms were identified. At that density, significant single nucleotide polymorphisms could be linked to co-inherited haplotype blocks (median size ~10 kb). Thus, markers were tightly associated with respective phenotypes, and individual allelic combinations of particular single nucleotide polymorphisms provided links to distinct phenotypes. In addition, yellow-fruit accessions were sequenced, and a ~ 90-kb-deletion on chromosome 3 that included five MYB10 transcription factors was associated with the phenotype. Overall, the study confirmed numerous quantitative trait loci from bi-parental populations using high-diversity accession populations, identified novel associations, and genome-wide association studies reduced the size of trait-associated loci from megabases to kilobases and to a few candidate genes per locus. Thus, a framework is provided to develop molecular markers and evaluate and characterize genes underlying important agronomic traits.