Submitted to: Southern Region of the American Society for Horticultural Science
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: February 25, 2009
Publication Date: June 10, 2009
Citation: King, S.R., Davis, A.R., Bang, H. 2009. New flesh colors in watermelon [abstract]? HortScience. 44(3):576.
There are currently six published flesh colors in watermelon along with the associated genes for each of the designated flesh colors. Previous results have shown that segregation patterns did not fit with published results for canary yellow and red flesh. We believe that part of the problem has been that previous studies focused on the phenotype, and did not include carotenoid profiles to designate the phenotype. We used carotenoid profiles along with visual color ratings to designate phenotype, and have identified pale yellow as a distinct phenotype that was probably confused with white flesh in previous investigations. This pale yellow phenotype is controlled by a single recessive gene, has very low levels of carotenoids but is distinct from white flesh, which contains no carotenoids. Pale yellow is controlled by a single recessive gene (py) that is only expressed in the presence of a dominant C gene, which confers canary yellow flesh. We have also discovered a green flesh phenotype that contains significant amounts of chlorophyll. It is believed that green flesh is easily overshadowed by high levels of carotenoids so that it may not always be visible; therefore biochemical analysis may be necessary to identify the presence of chlorophyll in the flesh. These new flesh colors mean that there are now eight designated flesh colors in watermelon: White, Salmon Yellow, Orange, Crimson Red, Scarlet Red, Pale Yellow, Canary Yellow and Green.