Predicting fruit trait with high accuracy at young seedling stage of citrus

Updated:July 11, 2017 (Tuesday)

Potential assessment of genomic selection for citrus breeding

A joint research project of National Agriculture and Food Research Organization with the University of Tokyo and the National Institute of Genetics has revealed that genomic selection, which predicts traits based on a large amount of DNA marker genotype data, would be effective to predict fruit traits at the young seedling stage of citrus individuals. The application of genomic selection will facilitate accurate selection of important traits such as fruit weight, fruit color, peelability etc. at the seedling stage without the evaluation of fruit itself. Selecting these traits by using conventional DNA marker selection technique had been the constraints, and this approach is anticipated to improve citrus breeding efficiency and will contribute to developing promising varieties that meet demands of both consumers and producers.


  • Marker-assisted selection (MAS) technique that based on a linkage of a particular DNA marker genotype to a certain trait has widely been used for early selection in breeding. However, conventional MAS is limited to select a simple trait that is regulated by a few genes and difficult to apply for selecting most of the important traits that have been regarded to be involved in many genes.
  • The Institute of Fruit Tree and Tea Science, NARO in collaboration with the University of Tokyo, and the National Institute of Genetics has assessed the potential of genomic selection at the seedling stage for many fruit quality traits based on a large amount of DNA marker genotype data.
  • This study revealed that genomic selection would be effective for accurate selection of traits such as fruit weight, fruit hardiness, peelability, the color of rind, the color of flesh, firmness of locule membrane, etc., which are involved in many genes and difficult to be selected by using conventional MAS technique.
  • Applying genomic selection for citrus breeding is expected to facilitate developing new promising cultivars that meet the prerequisites of both consumers and producers by improving wide fruit traits such as size, sugar content or peelability.
  • The results of this study are published in the journal "Scientific Reports" and could be accessed online from July 6, 2017.
  • Publication

    Mai F. Minamikawa, Keisuke Nonaka, Eli Kaminuma, Hiromi Kajiya-Kanegae, Akio Onogi, Shingo Goto, Terutaka Yoshioka, Atsushi Imai, Hiroko Hamada, Takeshi Hayashi, Satomi Matsumoto, Yuichi Katayose, Atsushi Toyoda, Asao Fujiyama, Yasukazu Nakamura, Tokurou Shimizu, Hiroyoshi Iwata (2017) Genome-wide association study and genomic prediction in citrus: Potential of genomics-assisted breeding for fruit quality traits. Scientific Reports.doi:10.1038/s41598-017-05100-x