Theoretical and Applied Genetics

, Volume 116, Issue 5, pp 657–669 | Cite as

Genetic diversity, structure and marker-trait associations in a collection of Italian tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) landraces

  • Andrea MazzucatoEmail author
  • Roberto Papa
  • Elena Bitocchi
  • Pietro Mosconi
  • Laura Nanni
  • Valeria Negri
  • Maurizio Enea Picarella
  • Francesca Siligato
  • Gian Piero Soressi
  • Barbara Tiranti
  • Fabio Veronesi
Original Paper


The study of phenotypic and genetic diversity in landrace collections is important for germplasm conservation. In addition, the characterisation of very diversified materials with molecular markers offers a unique opportunity to define significant marker-trait associations of biological and agronomic interest. Here, 50 tomato landraces (mainly collected in central Italy), nine vintage and modern cultivars, and two wild outgroups were grown at two locations in central Italy and characterised for 15 morpho-physiological traits and 29 simple sequence repeat (SSR) loci. The markers were selected to include a group of loci in regions harbouring reported quantitative trait loci (QTLs) that affect fruit size and/or shape (Q-SSRs) and a group of markers that have not been mapped or shown to have a priori known linkage (NQ-SSRs). As revealed by univariate and multivariate analyses of morphological data, the landraces grouped according to vegetative and reproductive traits, with emphasis on fruit size, shape and final destination of the product. Compared to the low molecular polymorphism reported in tomato modern cultivars, our data reveal a high level of molecular diversity in landraces. Such diversity has allowed the inference of the existence of a genetic structure that was factored into the association analysis. As the proportion of significant associations is higher between the Q-SSR subset of markers and the subset of traits related to fruit size and shape than for all of the other combinations, we conclude that this approach is valid for establishing true-positive marker-trait relationships in tomato.


Simple Sequence Repeat Marker Fruit Weight Fruit Size Simple Sequence Repeat Locus Fruit Shape 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors wish to thank Dr Paola Crinò, Dr Rosa Rao and the Tomato Genetic Resource Center, Davis (CA, U.S.A.) for providing some of the seed stocks, two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on the manuscript and Dr Christopher Berrie for editorial assistance with the English. This study was supported by the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR) in the framework of the SCRIGNO project (Sviluppo e Caratterizzazione delle Risorse Genetiche Native in Ortofrutticoltura), and by the Marche Region––ASSAM (Marche Agency for Agro-food Sector Services).

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Mazzucato
    • 1
    Email author
  • Roberto Papa
    • 2
  • Elena Bitocchi
    • 2
  • Pietro Mosconi
    • 1
  • Laura Nanni
    • 2
  • Valeria Negri
    • 3
  • Maurizio Enea Picarella
    • 1
  • Francesca Siligato
    • 1
  • Gian Piero Soressi
    • 1
  • Barbara Tiranti
    • 3
  • Fabio Veronesi
    • 3
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Agrobiologia e AgrochimicaUniversità degli Studi della TusciaViterboItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Scienze degli AlimentiUniversità Politecnica delle MarcheAnconaItaly
  3. 3.Dipartimento di Biologia Vegetale e Biotecnologie Agro-ambientali e ZootecnicheUniversità degli Studi di PerugiaPerugiaItaly

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