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ORIGINAL RESEARCH article

Front. Plant Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fpls.2021.642828

Natural genetic diversity in tomato flavor genes Provisionally accepted The final, formatted version of the article will be published soon. Notify me

 Lara Pereira1,  Manoj Sapkota2,  Michael Alonge3, Yi Zheng4,  Youjun Zhang5, 6,  Hamid Razifard7, Nathan K. Taitano2,  Michael Schatz3,  Alisdair Fernie5, 6,  Ying Wang8,  Zhangjun Fei4, 9, Ana L. Caicedo7,  Denise Tieman10 and Esther Van Der Knaap11*
  • 1Center for Applied Genetic Technologies, University of Georgia, United States
  • 2Institute for Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics, University of Georgia, United States
  • 3Department of Computer Science, Johns Hopkins University, United States
  • 4Boyce Thompson Institute, United States
  • 5Center of Plant Systems Biology and Biotechnology, Bulgaria
  • 6Max‐Planck‐Institut für Molekulare Pflanzenphysiologie, Germany
  • 7Biology Department, University of Massachusetts Amherst, United States
  • 8Department of Biological Sciences, Mississippi State University, United States
  • 9US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture & Health, USDA-ARS, United States
  • 10Horticultural Sciences, Plant Innovation Center, University of Florida, United States
  • 11Department of Horticulture, University of Georgia, United States

Fruit flavor is defined as the perception of the food by the olfactory and gustatory systems, and and is one of the main determinants of fruit quality. Tomato flavor is largely determined by the balance of sugars, acids and volatile compounds. Several genes controlling the levels of these metabolites in tomato fruit have been cloned, including LIN5, ALMT9, AAT1, CXE1 and LoxC. The aim of this study was to identify any association of these genes with trait variation and to describe the genetic diversity at these loci in the red-fruited tomato clade comprised of the wild ancestor Solanum pimpinellifolium, the semi-domesticated species Solanum lycopersicum cerasiforme and early domesticated Solanum lycopersicum lycopersicum. High genetic diversity was observed at these five loci, including novel haplotypes that could be incorporated into breeding programs to improve fruit quality of modern tomatoes. Using newly available high-quality genome assemblies, we assayed each gene for potential functional causative polymorphisms and resolved a duplication at the LoxC locus found in several wild and semi-domesticated accessions which caused lower accumulation of lipid derived volatiles. In addition, we explored gene expression of the five genes in nine phylogenetically diverse tomato accessions. In general, the expression patterns of these genes increased during fruit ripening but diverged between accessions without clear relationship between expression and metabolite levels.

Keywords: flavor, Tomato, genetic, diversity, Metabolomics, breeding (Min5-Max 8)

Received: 16 Dec 2020; Accepted: 23 Apr 2021.

Copyright: © 2021 Pereira, Sapkota, Alonge, Zheng, Zhang, Razifard, Taitano, Schatz, Fernie, Wang, Fei, Caicedo, Tieman and Van Der Knaap. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Esther Van Der Knaap, University of Georgia, Department of Horticulture, Athens, 30602, Georgia, United States, esthervanderknaap@uga.edu