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Plant Biotechnol J. 2015 Feb;13(2):246-58. doi: 10.1111/pbi.12267. Epub 2014 Nov 5.

Integration of BpMADS4 on various linkage groups improves the utilization of the rapid cycle breeding system in apple.

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Julius Kühn-Institut, Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants, Institute for Breeding Research on Fruit Crops, Dresden, Germany.


Rapid cycle breeding in apple is a new approach for the rapid introgression of agronomically relevant traits (e.g. disease resistances) from wild apple species into domestic apple cultivars (Malus × domestica Borkh.). This technique drastically shortens the long-lasting juvenile phase of apple. The utilization of early-flowering apple lines overexpressing the BpMADS4 gene of the European silver birch (Betula pendula Roth.) in hybridization resulted in one breeding cycle per year. Aiming for the selection of non-transgenic null segregants at the end of the breeding process, the flower-inducing transgene and the gene of interest (e.g. resistance gene) that will be introgressed by hybridization need to be located on different chromosomes. To improve the flexibility of the existing approach in apple, this study was focused on the development and characterization of eleven additional BpMADS4 overexpressing lines of four different apple cultivars. In nine lines, the flowering gene was mapped to different linkage groups. The differences in introgressed T-DNA sequences and plant genome deletions post-transformation highlighted the unique molecular character of each line. However, transgenic lines demonstrated no significant differences in flower organ development and pollen functionality compared with non-transgenic plants. Hybridization studies using pollen from the fire blight-resistant wild species accession Malus fusca MAL0045 and the apple scab-resistant cultivar 'Regia' indicated that BpMADS4 introgression had no significant effect on the breeding value of each transgenic line.


BpMADS4; Malus; T-DNA mapping; early flowering; rapid cycle breeding; transformation

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