Quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping of blush skin and flowering time in a European pear (Pyrus communis) progeny of ‘Flamingo’ × ‘Abate Fetel’

Solomon M. Ntladi, Jan P. Human, Cecilia Bester, Jessica Vervalle, Rouvay Roodt-Wilding*, Kenneth R. Tobutt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Blush skin and flowering time are agronomic traits of interest to the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) Infruitec-Nietvoorbij pear breeding programme. The genetic control of these traits was investigated in the pear progeny derived from ‘Flamingo’ (blush cultivar) × ‘Abate Fetel’ (slightly blush) made up of 121 seedlings. Blush skin was scored phenotypically over three seasons and flowering time was scored over two seasons. A total of 160 loci from 137 simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers were scored in the progeny and used to construct parental genetic linkage maps. Quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis revealed two QTLs for blush skin, a major QTL on linkage group (LG) 5 in ‘Flamingo’, and a major QTL on LG9 in ‘Abate Fetel’. Two SSR markers, NB101a and SAmsCO865954, were closely linked with the major QTL on LG5 in ‘Flamingo’, with alleles 139 bp and 462 bp in coupling, respectively. These markers were present in approximately 90% of the seedlings scored as good blush (class 4) based on the average data set. These two markers were used to genotype other pear accessions to validate the QTL on LG5 with the view of marker-assisted selection. Two candidate genes, MYB86 and UDP-glucosyl transferase, were associated with the QTL on LG5 and MYB21 and MYB39 were associated with the QTL on LG9. QTL analysis for flowering time revealed a major QTL located on LG9 in both parents. Marker GD142 with allele 161 bp from ‘Flamingo’ was present in approximately 88% of the seedlings that flowered earlier than either parent, based on the average data set. The QTLs and linked markers will facilitate marker-assisted selection for the improvement of these complex traits.

Original languageEnglish
Article number70
JournalTree Genetics and Genomes
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Blush skin
  • Candidate genes
  • European pear
  • Flowering time
  • QTLs
  • SSRs


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