Discovering causal variants controlling ripening period, phenolic content and softening during storage in apple (Malus domestica).
Apples are among Canada's most valuable fruit crops, and the improvement of apple varieties is crucial for the success of the industry. Breeding apples is expensive and time consuming, requiring decades of investment. A better understanding of the relationship between genetics and fruit traits will allow for more efficient breeding. Current apple breeding techniques make use of genetic markers, but these markers are of limited use. Identification of the causal DNA directly controlling fruit traits will enable more efficient breeding methods and the creation of new apple varieties through genome editing. The proposed research aims to identify the causal DNA responsible for ripening period, nutritional content and softening in apples. DNA from apple trees exhibiting the most extreme manifestations of these traits will be pooled, sequenced and compared to determine which alleles are responsible for each trait. Partner organizations I-INC and iBoost will benefit from this project by contributing to innovation and technology development in Canada, and by cultivating growth within the nation's biotechnology industry.