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  • Author or Editor: Antonio Luis Alarcón x
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Melon (Cucumis melo L.) is a perishable fruit that requires refrigeration to extend its shelf life. Postharvest behavior differs substantially among melon varieties due to genetic differences. In this work, we use a collection of near-isogenic lines (NILs) derived from a cross between the Spanish cultivar Piel de Sapo (PS) and an exotic Korean accession ‘Shongwan Charmi’ [SC (PI161375)], each of them with a single introgressed region from SC into the PS background, to detect and map quantitative trait loci (QTLs) involved in postharvest life traits, such as total losses, water-soaking, necrosis of the placental tissue, chilling injury (CI), decay, fruit over-ripening, flesh browning, hollow flesh disorder, and flavor loss during storage. Fruit were examined at harvest and after 35 days at 8 °C. Three QTLs induced desirable quality traits: flv4.1 reduced the loss of fruit flavor after refrigeration, tl8.1 reduced total losses, and fus8.4 reduced the susceptibility to fusarium rot (Fusarium Link). Another 11 QTLs produced a detrimental effect on other quality traits. The NIL population was useful for dissecting complex, difficult-to-measure pre- and postharvest disorder traits of different degrees of development and for investigating flavor loss during storage. Further studies with the QTLs described herein will shed light on the genetic control of melon shelf life and help breeders who are interested in this fruit quality trait.

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A collection of melon (Cucumis melo L.) near-isogenic lines (NILs) derived from the cross between the Spanish C. melo cultivar Piel de Sapo (PS) and the exotic Korean accession Shongwan Charmi [SC (PI161375)], was used to study the genetic control of a large number of melon fruit quality traits, including morphological, external appearance, texture, flavor, and the overall differences between NILs and PS that might be detected by consumers with a triangle test. Heritability was significant for all the traits, being >0.5 for the whole area of the longitudinal section of the fruit, flesh proportion, skin lightness color, hue angle coordinate of flesh color, and flesh-extractable juice. NILs were classified by principal-component analysis. The first principal component (22% of the variation) was affected mostly by morphological traits, the second component (10%) was influenced by internal and external morphology pattern and color, and the third component (9%) was controlled mainly by flavor traits. An average of 5.6 quantitative trait loci (QTL) per trait were identified (range, between 1 and 12 QTL; 134 QTL in total). In most cases, allele effects with opposite actions were detected. A substantial number of QTL may be good candidates to introduce new quality attributes in modern melon cultivars.

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A melon (Cucumis melo L.) genomic library of near-isogenic lines derived from the cross between the Spanish cultivar Piel de Sapo and the exotic accession PI 161375 has been evaluated for fruit quality traits in four different locations. Traits evaluated were fruit weight, soluble solids content, maximum fruit diameter, fruit length, fruit shape index, ovary shape index, external color, and flesh color. Among these traits, soluble solids content showed the highest genotype × environment interaction, whereas genotype × environment interactions for fruit shape and fruit weight were low. Heritability was high for all traits except soluble solids content, with the highest value for fruit shape and ovary shape. Ten to 15 quantitative trait loci were detected for soluble solids content, fruit diameter, fruit length, and fruit shape; and four to five for ovary shape, external color, and flesh color. Depending on the trait, between 13% and 40% of the detected quantitative trait alleles from PI 161375 increased the trait, and between 60% and 87% of them decreased it, resulting in some PI 161375 alleles of interest for breeding. Most of the quantitative trait loci detected in previous experiments could be verified with the near-isogenic line population. Future studies with the melon near-isogenic line genomic library will provide a better understanding of the genetic control of melon fruit quality in a wider context related to agronomy, genetics, genomics and metabolomics studies.

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