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Article|19 Jan 2023|OPEN
QTL analysis for ascorbic acid content in strawberry fruit reveals a complex genetic architecture and association with GDP-L-galactose phosphorylase
Pilar Muñoz1,2 , Cristina Castillejo1 , José Antonio Gómez3 , Luis Miranda3 , Silke Lesemann4 , Klaus Olbricht4 , Aurélie Petit5 , Philippe Chartier5 , Annika Haugeneder6 , Johanna Trinkl6 , Luca Mazzoni7 , Agnieszka Masny8 , Edward Zurawicz8,13 , Freya Maria Rosemarie Ziegler9 , Björn Usadel9 , Wilfried Schwab6 , Béatrice Denoyes10 , Bruno Mezzetti7 and Sonia Osorio11,12 , José F. Sánchez-Sevilla1,12 , Iraida Amaya,1,12 ,
1Centro IFAPA de Málaga, Instituto Andaluz de Investigación y Formación Agraria y Pesquera (IFAPA), 29140, Málaga, Spain
2PhD program in Advanced Biotechnology, Universidad de Málaga, 29071, Málaga, Spain
3Finca el Cebollar, Centro IFAPA las Torres, 04745, Huelva, Spain
4Hansabred GmbH & Co. KG, 01108, Dresden, Germany
5INVENIO, 33800, Bordeaux, France
6Biotechnology of Natural Products, Technische Universität München, 85354, Freising, Germany
7Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie, Alimentari e Ambientali, Università Politecnica delle Marche, 60131, Ancona, Italy
8Department of Horticultural Crop Breeding, the National Institute of Horticultural Research, Konstytucji 3 Maja 1/3, 96-100, Skierniewice, Poland
9Institute of Bio- and Geosciences, Bioinformatics (IBG-4), Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, 52428, Jülich, Germany
10Univ. Bordeaux, INRAE, Biologie du Fruit et Pathologie, UMR 1332, F-33140, France
11Departamento de Biología Molecular y Bioquímica, Instituto de Hortofruticultura Subtropical y Mediterránea "La Mayora", Universidad de Málaga-Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Campus de Teatinos, 29071 Málaga, Spain
12Unidad Asociada de I+D+i IFAPA-CSIC Biotecnología y Mejora en Fresa, 29010, Málaga, Spain
13Passed away
*Corresponding author. E-mail:

Horticulture Research 10,
Article number: uhad006 (2023)
Views: 217

Received: 21 Nov 2022
Accepted: 10 Jan 2023
Published online: 19 Jan 2023


Strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa) fruits are an excellent source of L-ascorbic acid (AsA), a powerful antioxidant for plants and humans. Identifying the genetic components underlying AsA accumulation is crucial for enhancing strawberry nutritional quality. Here, we unravel the genetic architecture of AsA accumulation using an F1 population derived from parental lines ‘Candonga’ and ‘Senga Sengana’, adapted to distinct Southern and Northern European areas. To account for environmental effects, the F1 and parental lines were grown and phenotyped in five locations across Europe (France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain). Fruit AsA content displayed normal distribution typical of quantitative traits and ranged five-fold, with significant differences among genotypes and environments. AsA content in each country and the average in all of them was used in combination with 6,974 markers for quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis. Environmentally stable QTLs for AsA content were detected in linkage group (LG) 3A, LG 5A, LG 5B, LG 6B and LG 7C. Candidate genes were identified within stable QTL intervals and expression analysis in lines with contrasting AsA content suggested that GDP-L-Galactose Phosphorylase FaGGP(3A), and the chloroplast-located AsA transporter gene FaPHT4;4(7C) might be the underlying genetic factors for QTLs on LG 3A and 7C, respectively. We show that recessive alleles of FaGGP(3A) inherited from both parental lines increase fruit AsA content. Furthermore, expression of FaGGP(3A) was two-fold higher in lines with high AsA. Markers here identified represent a useful resource for efficient selection of new strawberry cultivars with increased AsA content.