Mapping of genetic loci that regulate quantity of beta-carotene in fruit of US Western Shipping melon (Cucumis melo L.)

H E Cuevas, J E Staub, P W Simon, J E Zalapa, J D McCreight
TAG. Theoretical and Applied Genetics. Theoretische und Angewandte Genetik 2008, 117 (8): 1345-59
Melon (Cucumis melo L.) is highly nutritious vegetable species and an important source of beta-carotene (Vitamin A), which is an important nutrient in the human diet. A previously developed set of 81 recombinant inbred lines (RIL) derived from Group Cantalupensis US Western Shipper market type germplasm was examined in two locations [Wisconsin (WI) and California (CA), USA] over 2 years to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) associated with quantity of beta-carotene (QbetaC) in mature fruit. A moderately saturated 256-point RIL-based map [104 SSR, 7 CAPS, 4 SNP in putative carotenoid candidate genes, 140 dominant markers and one morphological trait (a) spanning 12 linkage groups (LG)] was used for QbetaC-QTL analysis. Eight QTL were detected in this evaluation that were distributed across four LG that explained a significant portion of the associated phenotypic variation for QbetaC (R (2) = 8 to 31.0%). Broad sense heritabilities for QbetaC obtained from RIL grown in WI. and CA were 0.56 and 0.68, respectively, and 0.62 over combined locations. The consistence of QbetaC in high/low RIL within location across years was confirmed in experiments conducted over 2 years. QTL map positions were not uniformly associated with putative carotenoid genes, although one QTL (beta-car6.1) interval was located 10 cM from a beta-carotene hydroxylase gene. These results suggest that accumulation of beta-carotene in melon is under complex genetic control. This study provides the initial step for defining the genetic control of QbetaC in melon leading to the development of varieties with enhanced beta-carotene content.

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