Most cultivars of tomato, Lycopersicon esculentum, are sensitive to low (chilling) temperatures (0-15 °C) during seed germination; however, genetic sources of cold (chilling) tolerance have been identified within the related wild species. The purpose of this study was to identify quantitative trait loci (QTLs) that contribute to cold tolerance during germination in tomato using a backcross population of an interspecific cross between a cold-sensitive tomato line (NC84173, recurrent parent) and a L. pimpinellifolium accession (LA 722) that germinates rapidly under low temperatures. A total of 119 BC1 individuals were genotyped for 151 restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) markers and a genetic linkage map was constructed. The parental lines and 119 BC1S1 families (self-pollinated progeny of the BC1 individuals) were evaluated for germination at a low temperature (11 ± 0.5 °C). Germination was scored visually as radicle protrusion at 8 h intervals for 28 consecutive days. Germination response was analyzed by the survival analysis and the times to 25, 50 and 75% germination were calculated. In addition, a germination index (GI) was calculated as the weighted mean of the time from imbibition to germination for each family/line. Two QTL mapping techniques, interval mapping (using MAPMAKER/QTL) and single-point analysis (using QGENE), were used to identify QTLs. The results of both methods were similar and two chromosomal locations (3-5 putative QTLs) with significant effects on low temperature germination were identified. The L. pimpinellifolium accession had favorable QTL alleles on chromosomes 1 and NC84173 had favorable QTL alleles on chromosome 4. The percentage of phenotypic variation explained (PVE) by individual QTLs ranged from 11.9% to 33.4%. Multilocus analysis indicated that the cumulative action of all significant QTLs accounted for 43.8% of the total phenotypic variance. Digenic epistatic interactions were evident between two of the QTL-linked markers and two unlinked markers. Transgressive phenotypes were observed in the direction of cold sensitivity. The results indicate that low temperature germination of tomato seed can be improved by marker-assisted selection.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Agronomy and Crop Science
- Plant Science