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Virus-Resistant Melon Lines Released

By Sean Adams
January 31, 1997

Four new watermelon lines that have genetic resistance to a viral disease are now available to breeders.

Scientists with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service screened 670 germplasm accessions to find the four resistant lines, which came from plants originally from the African countries of Zaire and Nigeria. The research was reported in the January issue of Agricultural Research magazine, published by ARS.

The new lines provide rare sources of resistance to watermelon mosaic virus, which attacks watermelons and other cucurbits around the world.

To determine resistance, scientists initially screened watermelon germplasm lines against a Florida strain of the virus in the greenhouse and field studies. Then, four of the most resistant lines were tested in the greenhouse against strains from Florida, Arizona, California, New York, Israel and Italy.

Limited quantities of seed are available only to public and private breeders who must cross the lines with commercial types to develop new hybrids for public sale.

An article on virus-resistant melon appears in the January 1997 issue of Agricultural Research magazine. The article is available on the web:


Scientific contact: A. Graves Gillaspie Jr., Plant Genetic Conservation Resources, Griffin, Georgia, (770) 229-3324, e-mail: