Relieving the Phenotyping Bottleneck for Grape Bunch Architecture in Grapevine Breeding Research: Implementation of a 3D-Based Phenotyping Approach for Quantitative Trait Locus Mapping
In viticulture, winemakers and the industry demand grape bunches that have a reduced degree of bunch compactness. The major aspect is that a loose bunch compactness reduces the risk of severe Botrytis bunch-rot infections. Grapevine breeders focus hereby on several bunch-architecture-related traits. For specific breeding approaches and breeding-research-related topics, such as Quantitative Trait Locus (QTL) analysis or molecular marker development, the exact and objective phenotyping of such traits is mandatory. In this study, a precise and high-throughput 3D phenotyping pipeline was applied to screen 1514 genotypes from three mapping populations with different genetic backgrounds to investigate its applicability for QTL mapping approaches. In the first step, the phenotypic data of one population containing 150 genotypes were collected and analyzed with the 3D phenotyping pipeline. Additionally, corresponding reference data were obtained. Phenotypic values and results of a QTL analysis were compared with each other. Strongly positive correlations up to r = 0.93 between 3D and reference measurements could be detected for several traits. The ten-times-faster 3D phenotyping pipeline revealed 20, and the reference phenotyping methods revealed 22 QTLs. Eighteen of these QTLs were consistent between both procedures. In the next step, screening was extended to four different mapping populations across several seasons. In total, up to 1500 genotypes were screened during one season (>5000 grape bunches in total). The data analysis revealed significant differences across years and populations. Three bunch-architecture traits, including total berry volume, bunch width, and berry diameter, explained the highest amount of variability in the phenotypic data. A QTL analysis was performed on the phenotypic data of the involved populations to identify comparative genetic loci for bunch-architecture traits. Between 20 and 26 stable and reproducible QTLs for the investigated populations were detected. A common QTL for berry diameter could be identified for all populations. Our results strongly conclude that this locus is co-located on chromosome 17 when mapped to the grapevine reference genome. The results show that the implementation of the 3D phenotyping platform allows for precise and extended screenings of different, genetic diverse mapping populations and thus opens up the possibility to uncover the genomic architecture of this highly complex quantitative grapevine trait.