Genetic dissection of aroma volatile compounds from the essential oil of peach fruit: QTL analysis and identification of candidate genes using dense SNP maps
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in plants are involved in aroma and pest resistance. These compounds form a complex mixture whose composition is specific to species and often to varieties. Despite their importance as essential factors that determine peach fruit quality, understanding of molecular, genetic, and physiological mechanisms underlying aroma formation is limited. The aim of this study was the identification in peach of quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for fruit VOCs to understand their genetic basis using an F1 population of 126 seedlings deriving from the cross between “Bolero” (B) and “OroA” (O), two peach cultivars differing in their aroma profile. Dense single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and SSR maps covering the eight linkage groups of the peach genome were constructed by genotyping with the International Peach SNP Consortium peach SNP array v1, and data for 23 VOCs with high or unknown “odor activity value” were obtained by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry analysis of fruit essential oil in the years 2007 and 2008. A total of 72 QTLs were identified, most consistent in both years. QTLs were identified for the 23 VOCs studied, including three major QTLs for nonanal, linalool, and for p-menth-1-en-9-al stable in both years. Collocations between candidate genes and major QTLs were identified taking advantage of the peach genome sequence: genes encoding two putative terpene synthases and one lipoxygenase (Lox) might be involved in the biosynthesis of linalool and p-menth-1-en-9-al, and nonanal, respectively. Implications for marker-assisted selection and future research on the subject are discussed.