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Frontiers in Plant Science

Hillel Brukental 
Adi Doron-Faigenboim
Irit Bar-Ya'akov
Rotem Harel-Beja 
Ziv Attia 
Tamar Azoulay-Shemer 
Doron Holland 

Almond [Prunus dulcis (Mill.) D. A. Webb] is a major deciduous fruit tree crop worldwide. During dormancy, under warmer temperatures and inadequate chilling hours, the plant metabolic activity increases and may lead to carbohydrate deficiency. Prunus arabica (Olivier) Meikle is a bushy wild almond species known for its green, unbarked stem, which stays green even during the dormancy period. Our study revealed that P. arabica green stems assimilate significantly high rates of CO2 during the winter as compared to P. dulcis cv. Um el Fahem (U.E.F.) and may improve carbohydrate status throughout dormancy. To uncover the genetic inheritance and mechanism behind the P. arabica stem photosynthetic capability (SPC), a segregated F1 population was generated by crossing P. arabica to U.E.F. Both parent's whole genome was sequenced, and SNP calling identified 4,887 informative SNPs for genotyping. A robust genetic map for U.E.F. and P. arabica was constructed (971 and 571 markers, respectively). QTL mapping and association study for the SPC phenotype revealed major QTL [log of odd (LOD) = 20.8] on chromosome 7 and another minor but significant QTL on chromosome 1 (LOD = 3.9). As expected, the P. arabica allele in the current loci significantly increased the SPC phenotype. Finally, a list of 64 candidate genes was generated. This work sets the stage for future research to investigate the mechanism regulating the SPC trait, how it affects the tree's physiology, and its importance for breeding new cultivars better adapted to high winter temperatures.

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Revealing the Genetic Components Responsible for the Unique Photosynthetic Stem Capability of the Wild Almond Prunus arabica (Olivier) Meikle

Hillel Brukental 
Adi Doron-Faigenboim
Irit Bar-Ya'akov
Rotem Harel-Beja 
Ziv Attia 
Tamar Azoulay-Shemer 
Doron Holland 

Almond [Prunus dulcis (Mill.) D. A. Webb] is a major deciduous fruit tree crop worldwide. During dormancy, under warmer temperatures and inadequate chilling hours, the plant metabolic activity increases and may lead to carbohydrate deficiency. Prunus arabica (Olivier) Meikle is a bushy wild almond species known for its green, unbarked stem, which stays green even during the dormancy period. Our study revealed that P. arabica green stems assimilate significantly high rates of CO2 during the winter as compared to P. dulcis cv. Um el Fahem (U.E.F.) and may improve carbohydrate status throughout dormancy. To uncover the genetic inheritance and mechanism behind the P. arabica stem photosynthetic capability (SPC), a segregated F1 population was generated by crossing P. arabica to U.E.F. Both parent's whole genome was sequenced, and SNP calling identified 4,887 informative SNPs for genotyping. A robust genetic map for U.E.F. and P. arabica was constructed (971 and 571 markers, respectively). QTL mapping and association study for the SPC phenotype revealed major QTL [log of odd (LOD) = 20.8] on chromosome 7 and another minor but significant QTL on chromosome 1 (LOD = 3.9). As expected, the P. arabica allele in the current loci significantly increased the SPC phenotype. Finally, a list of 64 candidate genes was generated. This work sets the stage for future research to investigate the mechanism regulating the SPC trait, how it affects the tree's physiology, and its importance for breeding new cultivars better adapted to high winter temperatures.

Scientific Publication
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