Strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa) fruit flavor and aroma are among the most appreciated quality traits by consumers; as such, the improvement of strawberry flavor is receiving increasing importance in breeding programs. However, breeding for better aroma, particularly in polyploid crops, presents many challenges and requires a previous knowledge of the genetic determinants controlling its variation.
More than 300 volatile compounds have been detected in strawberry, although less than 20 contribute significantly to strawberry flavor. In a previous study we have identified QTLs controlling the content of 48 different volatiles, including the majority of those described as key for strawberry aroma. In this proposal we want to identify the molecular mechanism underlying some of the major QTLs. To achieve our goals we will use complementary approaches and leading technologies, such as saturated genetics maps of strawberry based in SSR and SNP markers, global transcript quantification by RNA-seq, metabolomic, biochemistry and molecular biology tools, including the development of transgenic strawberry plants for validation of identified loci. The Plant Innovation program at the UF offers an integrated and multi-disciplinary approach to flavor research and will facilitate the consecution of our objectives. This proposal will use an economically important crop, strawberry, to identify genes controlling important volatiles and validate whether markers linked to them are useful in other strawberry backgrounds. Because several volatile compounds are common to other important crops such as peach or ornamental species such as rose, the obtained results will facilitate advances in other species.
We envisage that the identified genes or markers closely linked to them will increase the efficiency and precision of strawberry breeding programs and finally facilitate the development of new cultivars with enhanced flavor.
Fields of science
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