Genome-wide association analysis of the anthocyanin and carotenoid contents of rose petals

Dietmar F. Schulz, Rena T. Schott, Roeland E. Voorrips, Rene Smulders, Marcus Linde, Thomas Debener*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Petal color is one of the key characteristics determining the attractiveness and therefore the commercial value of an ornamental crop. Here, we present the first genome-wide association study for the important ornamental crop rose, focusing on the anthocyanin and carotenoid contents in petals of 96 diverse tetraploid garden rose genotypes. Cultivated roses display a vast phenotypic and genetic diversity and are therefore ideal targets for association genetics. For marker analysis, we used a recently designed Axiom SNP chip comprising 68,000 SNPs with additionally 281 SSRs, 400 AFLPs and 246 markers from candidate genes. An analysis of the structure of the rose population revealed three subpopulations with most of the genetic variation between individual genotypes rather than between clusters and with a high average proportion of heterozygous loci. The mapping of markers significantly associated with anthocyanin and carotenoid content to the related Fragaria and Prunus genomes revealed clusters of associated markers indicating five genomic regions associated with the total anthocyanin content and two large clusters associated with the carotenoid content. Among the marker clusters associated with the phenotypes, we found several candidate genes with known functions in either the anthocyanin or the carotenoid biosynthesis pathways. Among others, we identified a glutathione-S-transferase, 4CL, an auxin response factor and F3’H as candidate genes affecting anthocyanin concentration, and CCD4 and Zeaxanthine epoxidase as candidates affecting the concentration of carotenoids. These markers are starting points for future validation experiments in independent populations as well as for functional genomic studies to identify the causal factors for the observed color phenotypes. Furthermore, validated markers may be interesting tools for marker-assisted selection in commercial breeding programmes in that they provide the tools to identify superior parental combinations that combine several associated markers in higher dosages.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1798
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Issue numberDECEMBER2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Anthocyanin
  • Carotenoid
  • Genome wide association study
  • Petal color
  • Tetraploid roses


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