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Gerbera hybrida is one of the top five cut flowers. It is well-known to people for its variation in flower color and patterning. Gerbera breeding at the moment is done using conventional methods which are based on a phenotypic selection. This has drawbacks in breeding speed and efficiency, especially for complex traits like disease resistance. Gerbera gray mold, promoted by high humidity during the production in greenhouses or by an accumulation of condensate during transportation, is a considerable threat to the gerbera production. Gerbera gray mold is caused by Botrytis cinerea and plant resistance to B. cinerea is considered to be a polygenic trait that needs the contribution of multiple loci, and on top of that is highly affected by the environment. Conventional breeding might be inefficient for improving Botrytis resistance in gerbera.
In this study, the transcriptomes of four parents of two gerbera populations were sequenced using Illumina paired-end sequencing. Transcriptome data provides a resource for genetic dissection and an insight to explore gene functions for this ornamental crop. To identify the QTL regions leading to the phenotypic variation in Botrytis resistance, and establishing a relationship between marker genotype and phenotypic variation for marker assisted selection (MAS), genetic linkage maps were constructed with SNP markers in the two F1 segregating populations. A total of 20 QTLs were identified in the parental maps of the two populations. The number of QTLs found and the explained variance of most QTLs detected reflects the complex mechanism of Botrytis disease response. Narrowing down the QTL region and identifying the causal gene(s) underlying a QTL could maximize the effective use of MAS in breeding. Homologs of known functional genes involved in Botrytis resistance from other species were obtained in gerbera and SNP markers identified and mapped. Twenty-nine candidate genes were mapped and seven candidate genes could be mapped on both populations. Seven candidate genes were located in the vicinity of the QTLs detected. The co-localization of QTLs with CGs gives an indication that these candidate genes could probably be involved in resistance to Botrytis and provide a more precise possibility to use MAS in gerbera breeding in the future. A tobacco rattle virus (TRV) based gene silencing system which was used to inspect the function of two candidate genes. The two CGs are the homologs of the genes responsible for Botrytis resistance in tomato and both mapped in QTL regions related to Botrytis resistance in gerbera ray floret test. Silencing the two genes by VIGS, showed smaller lesion sizes upon Botrytis infection on gerbera ray florets compared with the controls.
The entire research went from the generation of four parental transcriptome data sets to development of SNP markers (Chapter 2), construction of genetic maps and to mapping QTLs for Botrytis resistance (Chapter 3). This was further on combined with candidate gene searching in other crops, querying and mapping homologous genes (Chapter 4) and characterizing the candidate genes which co-localized with QTLs (Chapter 5). The whole process not only helped us to unravel the genetics of Botrytis resistance in gerbera and develop genetic tools for gerbera improvement, but also could serve as guidance for developing marker-assisted selection for other ornamental plants from the beginning.
|Qualification||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Award date||19 Jun 2017|
|Place of Publication||Wageningen|
|Publication status||Published - 2017|
- plant pathogenic fungi
- botrytis cinerea
- disease resistance
- genetic mapping
- quantitative trait loci
- plant breeding