Tree Genetics & Genomes

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 271–279 | Cite as

A FRUITFULL-like gene is associated with genetic variation for fruit flesh firmness in apple (Malus domestica Borkh.)

  • Volkan Cevik
  • Carol D. Ryder
  • Alexandra Popovich
  • Kenneth Manning
  • Graham J. King
  • Graham B. Seymour
Original Paper


The FRUITFULL (FUL) and SHATTERPROOF (SHP) genes are involved in regulating fruit development and dehiscence in Arabidopsis. We tested the hypothesis that this class of genes are also involved in regulating the development of fleshy fruits, by exploring genetic and phenotypic variation within the apple (Malus domestica) gene pool. We isolated and characterised the genomic sequences of two candidate orthologous FUL-like genes, MdMADS2.1 and MdMADS2.2. These were mapped using the reference population ‘Prima x Fiesta’ to loci on Malus linkage groups LG14 and LG06, respectively. An additional MADS-box gene, MdMADS14, shares high amino acid identity with the Arabidopsis SHATTERPROOF1/2 genes and was mapped to Malus linkage group LG09. Association analysis between quantitative fruit flesh firmness estimates of ‘Prima x Fiesta’ progeny and the MdMADS2.1, MdMADS2.2 and MdMADS14 loci was carried out using a mixed model analysis of variance. This revealed a significant association (P < 0.01) between MdMADS2.1 and fruit flesh firmness. Further evidence for the association between MdMADS2.1 and fruit flesh firmness was obtained using a case–control population-based genetic association approach. For this, a polymorphic repeat, (AT)n, in the 3′ UTR of MdMADS2.1 was used as a locus-specific marker to screen 168 apple accessions for which historical assessments of fruit texture attributes were available. This analysis revealed a significant association between the MdMADS2.1 and fruit flesh firmness at both allelic (χ 2 = 34, df = 9, P < 0.001) and genotypic (χ 2 = 57, df = 32, P < 0.01) levels.


Malus domestica Fruit flesh texture FRUITFUL Association mapping Tree improvement Genetic diversity 



This project was carried out with the financial support from the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Commission of the European Communities (contract N° QLK5-CT-2002-01492), Directorate-General Research-Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources Programme. We also would like to thank Plant Research International, Wageningen, The Netherlands, for making the reference population ‘Prima x Fiesta’ available to us.

Supplementary material

11295_2009_247_MOESM1_ESM.xls (45 kb)
Table S1 List of Malus domestica accessions used for the association mapping (XLS 45 kb)
11295_2009_247_MOESM2_ESM.doc (32 kb)
Table S2 Microsatellite markers used to infer the population structure of the Malus accessions used for the association analysis (DOC 31 kb)
11295_2009_247_MOESM3_ESM.ppt (130 kb)
Supplementary Fig. 1 Bar plots of estimates of membership coefficient (Q) for each apple accessions analysed under admixture model, assuming uncorrelated allele frequencies (PPT 129 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Volkan Cevik
    • 1
  • Carol D. Ryder
    • 1
  • Alexandra Popovich
    • 1
  • Kenneth Manning
    • 1
  • Graham J. King
    • 2
  • Graham B. Seymour
    • 3
  1. 1.Warwick-HRIWarwick UniversityWellesbourneUK
  2. 2.Rothamsted ResearchHarpendenUK
  3. 3.Division of Plant and Crop Sciences, School of BiosciencesUniversity of NottinghamLoughboroughUK

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