Association of PaSOC1 genotype with dormancy and flowering time among sweet cherry gene bank accessions

S. Szilágyi, J. Halász, Zs. Békefi
Early spring frost damage and extreme temperature fluctuation after their dormancy period is a serious problem for fruit growers. Prunus species are very sensitive to sudden rises and drops in temperature in spring, when dormancy ends and rising temperature causes bud break and leads to flowering of the trees. Extreme weather conditions are getting more common, thus new cultivars tolerant to such conditions are needed. In order to breed new cultivars adopted to the changing climate, understanding the dormancy and flowering of fruit trees, and exploring their genetic background is important. Some evidence supports that PaSOC1, which encodes a MADS-box gene, is involved in the regulation of dormancy break, and controls flowering time. Studies identified 13 alleles of the ParSOC1 gene in apricot, and 3 alleles in peach. In our studies, 32 sweet cherry accessions were analyzed. Nine alleles of the PaSOC1 gene were identified, the majority of the accessions were heterozygous, only 8 were found to be homozygous. The 200 bp allele was the most common; it has been carried by 59% of the accessions. The second most common was the allele 246 bp, it was present in 14 accessions. To identify flowering time of the accessions, phenological data were recorded in three consecutive years, and also chilling requirements of the selected accessions were determined. Comparison of genotypic and phenotypic data revealed possible correlation between observed traits and specific alleles present in accessions. Allele 224 was only present in early flowering accessions, with low chilling requirements, while allele 232 occurred in accessions with higher chilling requirements. These two newly identified alleles might predict a sweet cherry cultivar's chilling requirement and flowering time, thus could be used as a functional molecular marker for these traits in breeding programs.
Szilágyi, S., Halász, J. and Békefi, Zs. (2021). Association of PaSOC1 genotype with dormancy and flowering time among sweet cherry gene bank accessions. Acta Hortic. 1307, 213-220
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2021.1307.33
Prunus avium L., dormancy, transcription factors, PaSOC1 gene

Acta Horticulturae