Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: March 15, 2010
Publication Date: April 30, 2010
Citation: Cuevas, H.E., Staub, J.E., Zalapa, J.E. 2010. Genome Mapping and QTL Analysis in Cucurbits. In: Wang, Y.H., Behera , T.K., Kole , E.C., editors. Cucurbits; Genetics, Genomics and Breeding in Crop Plants. Enfield, New Hampshire:Science Publishers Inc.
The globally ubiquitous, cross-pollinated family Cucurbitacea (synom. cucurbits) includes 825 species housed in 118 principally tropical genera of which some have economic importance. For instance, species in the genera Cucumis (cucumber; C. sativus var. sativus L; melon; Cucumis melo L.), Citrullus [watermelon; C. lanatus (Thumb.) Matsum & Nakai], and Cucurbita spp. [squash (C. pepo L. and C. moschata Duchesne)] provide an array of market types that are grown worldwide (~17.9 x 107 metric tons of marketable product; FAO 2004). In fact, taken collectively species of the Cucurbitacea are among the most important plant species commercially and culturally. The origin and domestication of cucurbit crop species differ dramatically. For example, while squash was domesticated in America more than 8,000 years ago (Smith 1997), cucumber, melon and watermelon originated in the Near-East, India, and north of Africa. A wide range of DNA markers have been employed in cucurbits for diversity analysis (Lebeda et al. 2007), genetic map construction (melon, cucumber, squash, and watermelon) and maker-assisted selection (cucumber). The joint analysis of marker genotyping and trait phenotyping enables the detection and location of loci controlling quantitative traits (QTL). The importance of DNA marker (e.g., genotyping) and genomic (e.g., mapping, QTL detection, and map-based gene cloning) analysis in major cucurbit crop species (i.e., melon, cucumber, watermelon, and squash) are presented and discussed. The use of such data for crop improvement is discussed and related to the improvement of cultivars using current biotechnologies.