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Comparative fine mapping of fruit quality QTLs on chromosome 4 introgressions derived from two wild tomato species
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Despite their unsuitability for agricultural production, the wild relatives of crop species represent a largely untapped resource of novel QTLs potentially useful for crop plant improvement. In this regard, previous introgression studies, involving several different wild tomato species, have shown that the long arm of chromosome 4 contains QTLs for many horticulturally important traits including soluble solids content, fruit shape, lycopene content and biochemical composition. However, these earlier studies were unable to determine how many genes control these traits and whether genes affecting the same character from different wild species are allelic or not. In an effort to shed light on these issues, we have constructed a series of lines containing small, overlapping introgressions for portions of the long arm of chromosome 4 from L. peruvianum and L. hirsutum and tested these lines in replicated field trials. The results provide evidence for multiple, non-allelic loci controlling soluble solids and fruit weight. They also show that the loci controlling some traits (e.g. fruit shape, fruit weight, epidermal reticulation) co-localize to the same portions of chromosome 4, a result that may be attributed to pleiotropy and/or gene dense areas with lower than average recombination. The implications of these finding for molecular breeding and utilization of exotic germplasm are discussed.