A deletion of the gene encoding amino aldehyde dehydrogenase enhances the “pandan-like” aroma of winter melon ( Benincasa hispida ) and is a functional marker for the development of the aroma
The gene conferring a “pandan-like” aroma of winter melon was identified. The sequence variation (804-bp deletion) found in the gene was used as the target for functional marker development.
Winter melon (Benincasa hispida), a member of the Cucurbitaceae family, is a commonly consumed vegetable in Asian countries that is popular for its nutritional and medicinal value. A “pandan-like” aroma, which is economically important in crops including rice and soybean, is rarely found in most commercial varieties of winter melon, but is present in some landraces. This aroma is a value-added potential trait in breeding winter melon with a higher economic value. In this study, we confirmed that the aroma of winter melon is due to the potent volatile compound 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline (2AP) as previously identified in other plants. Based on an analysis of public transcriptome data, BhAMADH encoding an aminoaldehyde dehydrogenase (AMADH) was identified as a candidate gene conferring aroma of winter melon. A sequence comparison of BhAMADH between the aromatic and non-aromatic accessions revealed an 804-bp deletion encompassing exons 11–13 in the aromatic accession. The deletion caused several premature stop codons and could result in a truncated protein with a length of only 208 amino acids compared with 503 amino acids in the normal protein. A functional marker was successfully developed based on the 804-bp deletion and validated in 237 F2 progenies. A perfect association of the marker genotypes and aroma phenotypes indicates that BhAMADH is the major gene conferring the aroma. The recently developed functional marker could be efficiently used in breeding programs for the aroma trait in winter melon.
Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00122-017-2976-3
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