Preprint Review Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Molecular and Genetic Bases of Fruit Firmness Variation in Blueberry—A Review

Version 1 : Received: 3 August 2018 / Approved: 5 August 2018 / Online: 5 August 2018 (10:11:33 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Cappai, F.; Benevenuto, J.; Ferrão, L.F.V.; Munoz, P. Molecular and Genetic Bases of Fruit Firmness Variation in Blueberry—A Review. Agronomy 2018, 8, 174. Cappai, F.; Benevenuto, J.; Ferrão, L.F.V.; Munoz, P. Molecular and Genetic Bases of Fruit Firmness Variation in Blueberry—A Review. Agronomy 2018, 8, 174.

Journal reference: Agronomy 2018, 8, 174
DOI: 10.3390/agronomy8090174

Abstract

Blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) has been recognized worldwide as a valuable source of health-promoting compounds, becoming a crop with some of the fastest rising consumer demand trends. Fruit firmness is a key target for blueberry breeding as it directly affects fruit quality, consumer preference, transportability, shelf life, and the ability of cultivars to be machine harvested. Fruit softening naturally occurs during berry development, maturation, and postharvest ripening. However, some genotypes are better at retaining firmness than others, and some are crispy, which is a putatively extra-firmness phenotype that provides a distinct eating experience. In this review, we summarized important studies addressing the firmness trait in blueberry, focusing on physiological and molecular changes affecting this trait at the onset of ripening and also the genetic basis of firmness variation across individuals. New insights into these topics were also achieved by using previously available data and historical records from the blueberry breeding program at the University of Florida. The complex quantitative nature of firmness in an autopolyploid species such as blueberry imposes additional challenges for the implementation of molecular techniques in breeding. However, we highlighted some recent genomics-based studies and the potential of a QTL mapping analysis and genome editing protocols such as CRISPR to further assist and accelerate the breeding process for this important trait.

Subject Areas

firmness; Vaccinium; ripening; cell wall; crispy; quantitative genetics; breeding; molecular markers; genome editing

Readers' Comments and Ratings (1)

Comment 1
Received: 10 September 2018
Commenter: Martin Nelwan
The commenter has declared there is no conflict of interests.
Comment: The authors, who focused on physiological and molecular changes of ripening and firmness in blueberry, introduced firmness modification stages throughout development and ripeness. The authors stated that genomic selection could accelerate the breeding program in blueberry. This article contributes necessary ways for the development of the blueberry, additionally, the article is well-organized. In the Conclusion section, the authors discussed the implementation of QTL mapping and genetic manipulations using the CRISPR/Cas9 system for instance. However, too short explanations concerning these each technique are obtainable in the text. Where is TALENs or ZFNs system?

Four figures and one table are during this article. Figures and table are well-organized and straightforward to know. However, it still needs to update them. For example, in Table 1, the authors should place “For more detailed information, see Supplemental Material” below the table. Figure legends should be reorganized. Avoid passive voice within the legends. For example, Figure 2a) Boxplot etc. Briefly, 200 mature blueberries of each cultivar were available for firmness using the FirmTech II device…etc.

There are too many long sentences and passive voice in the entire article. The authors should use a short, simple, and clear sentence and use active voice when possible. For example,

Lines 24-27: It is a long sentence. I suggest it should be as follows: “In this review, we summarized important studies addressing the firmness trait in blueberry. We focused on physical and molecular changes affecting this trait of ripening and the genetic of firmness variation across individuals.”

Lines 38-39: It is a passive voice. The authors should try to provide an active voice for this sentence. For example, “The world has recognized blueberry for health benefits because of high content and its wide diversity of polyphenolic compounds.”

Lines 298-300: It is not a simple sentence. I suggest it should be as follows: “In this review, we collected blueberry firmness data from scientific papers that used the FirmTech instrument. However, data did not include experimental treatment such as damage; extreme growth conditions, etc. (see Supplemental Material for more details).”

Lines 327-331: It is a too long sentence. I suggest it should be as follows: “Some studies suggested that cultivars with a higher percentage of V. darrowii (evergreen blueberry) and V. ashei (rabbiteye) ancestry often possessed higher firmness values, which could be the case of SHB. Cultivars with V. angustifolium (lowbush) ancestry presented softer fruits than the average, as also HH blueberries in Figure 3a [6, 83, 124].”

There are 149 (170 in peer-reviewed) references in this article. Around 90 (99 in peer-reviewed) articles are published more than 5 years ago (2013). The authors should try providing references published between 2013 and 2018 when possible, and most of them should be original articles. It would be better if the authors could provide references published no more than 2 years ago when possible.
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