Defining strawberry shape uniformity using 3D imaging and genetic mapping

Bo Li*, Helen M. Cockerton, Abigail W. Johnson, Amanda Karlström, Eleftheria Stavridou, Greg Deakin, Richard J. Harrison

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Strawberry shape uniformity is a complex trait, influenced by multiple genetic and environmental components. To complicate matters further, the phenotypic assessment of strawberry uniformity is confounded by the difficulty of quantifying geometric parameters ‘by eye’ and variation between assessors. An in-depth genetic analysis of strawberry uniformity has not been undertaken to date, due to the lack of accurate and objective data. Nonetheless, uniformity remains one of the most important fruit quality selection criteria for the development of a new variety. In this study, a 3D-imaging approach was developed to characterise berry shape uniformity. We show that circularity of the maximum circumference had the closest predictive relationship with the manual uniformity score. Combining five or six automated metrics provided the best predictive model, indicating that human assessment of uniformity is highly complex. Furthermore, visual assessment of strawberry fruit quality in a multi-parental QTL mapping population has allowed the identification of genetic components controlling uniformity. A “regular shape” QTL was identified and found to be associated with three uniformity metrics. The QTL was present across a wide array of germplasm, indicating a potential candidate for marker-assisted breeding, while the potential to implement genomic selection is explored. A greater understanding of berry uniformity has been achieved through the study of the relative impact of automated metrics on human perceived uniformity. Furthermore, the comprehensive definition of strawberry shape uniformity using 3D imaging tools has allowed precision phenotyping, which has improved the accuracy of trait quantification and unlocked the ability to accurately select for uniform berries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115
JournalHorticulture Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes


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