Genomic Selection for Fruit Quality Traits in Apple (Malus x domestica Borkh.)

S. Kumar, D. Chagné, M.C.A.M. Bink, R.K. Volz, C. Whitworth, C. Carlisle

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143 Citations (Scopus)


The genome sequence of apple (Malus×domestica Borkh.) was published more than a year ago, which helped develop an 8K SNP chip to assist in implementing genomic selection (GS). In apple breeding programmes, GS can be used to obtain genomic breeding values (GEBV) for choosing next-generation parents or selections for further testing as potential commercial cultivars at a very early stage. Thus GS has the potential to accelerate breeding efficiency significantly because of decreased generation interval or increased selection intensity. We evaluated the accuracy of GS in a population of 1120 seedlings generated from a factorial mating design of four females and two male parents. All seedlings were genotyped using an Illumina Infinium chip comprising 8,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), and were phenotyped for various fruit quality traits. Random-regression best liner unbiased prediction (RR-BLUP) and the Bayesian LASSO method were used to obtain GEBV, and compared using a cross-validation approach for their accuracy to predict unobserved BLUP-BV. Accuracies were very similar for both methods, varying from 0.70 to 0.90 for various fruit quality traits. The selection response per unit time using GS compared with the traditional BLUP-based selection were very high (>100%) especially for low-heritability traits. Genome-wide average estimated linkage disequilibrium (LD) between adjacent SNPs was 0.32, with a relatively slow decay of LD in the long range (r2 = 0.33 and 0.19 at 100 kb and 1,000 kb respectively), contributing to the higher accuracy of GS. Distribution of estimated SNP effects revealed involvement of large effect genes with likely pleiotropic effects. These results demonstrated that genomic selection is a credible alternative to conventional selection for fruit quality traits.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere36674
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • genetic-relationship information
  • estimated breeding value
  • linkage disequilibrium
  • status number
  • accuracy
  • values
  • prediction
  • markers
  • cattle
  • parameters


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