Melon-Like Cukes Have Key Disease Resistance
July 27, 1998
Why can't a cucumber be more like a melon and vice versa? It could, say
Agricultural Research Service scientists
who studied a wild Chinese cuke that's genetically similar to a melon.
ARS researchers have produced the first genetic cross between an exotic
wild-type Chinese cucumber and a Chinese commercial type. The wild germplasm
was provided by a visiting Chinese scientist who worked in ARS'
Vegetable Crops Research Unit
in Madison, Wisconsin.
The offspring are sterile, but with further genetic manipulation new hybrids
may serve as a genetic bridge between a cucumber and a melon. That's good news
for breeders because melons have disease resistance genes that cucumbers lack
and vice versa.
To find new sources of resistance and other economically important traits in
cucumbers and melons, ARS plant geneticists collected new germplasm from India
in 1992 and China in 1994.
They found that the germplasm from India and China holds new genetic
diversity not previously available to U.S. breeders. Yet another key finding:
The germplasm from India differed greatly from that collected in China.
The U.S. national germplasm collection of cucumbers and melons is at ARS'
Regional Plant Introduction Station at Ames, Iowa. Before 1992, 10 percent
of the cucumber germplasm in that collection was from India. The new accessions
are important additions to the U.S. germplasm collection.
Jack E. Staub,
Vegetable Crops Research Unit, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, University
of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, (608) 262-0028 or 264-5193, fax (608) 262- 4743
E-mail: email@example.com or Dr.
James D. McCreight, Research Leader, Crop Improvement and Protection Research
Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Salinas, CA (408) 755-2864,
fax (408) 755-2814, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org