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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Genetic Characterization of the Norwegian Apple Collection

Gilpin, Liv; Roen, Dag; Schubert, Marian; Davik, Jahn; Rumpunen, Kimmo; Gardli, Kristina Alme; Hjeltnes, Stein Harald; Alsheikh, Muath


Commercial fruit production in Norway is located at around latitude 60 degrees north, demanding a careful choice of adapted cultivars. The most comprehensive collection of apple genetic resources in Norway is being kept in the Norwegian Apple Collection (NAC) at the Njos Fruit and Berry Centre (NJOS). The collection contains around 350 accessions and was recently genotyped with a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array. Curated SNP data were used for the assessment of structure and diversity, pedigree confirmation, and core collection development. In the following SNP analysis, we identified several duplicates and parent-child relationships. Across the geographic regions represented, the collection was equally diverse. Different methods for analyzing population structure were applied. K-means clustering and a Bayesian modeling approach with prior assumptions of the data revealed five subpopulations associated with geographic breeding centers. The collection has a distinct genetic structure and low relatedness among the accessions; hence, two core collections with 100 accessions in each were created. These new core collections will allow breeders and researchers to use the NAC efficiently. The results from this study suggest that several of the accessions in the Norwegian Apple Collection could be of high importance for breeding purposes.


Malus domestica; Malus sieversii; SNP array; germplasm collection; genotyping; core collection; population structure; K-means

Published in

2023, Volume: 9, number: 5, article number: 575
Publisher: MDPI

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Genetics and Breeding

    Publication identifier


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