Submitted to: National Small Farms Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/12/2005
Publication Date: 9/20/2006
Citation: Levi, A., Thies, J.A., Simmons, A.M. 2006. Genetic diversity in watermelon, possible future benefits for organic and small farmers. Proceeding of the 4th National Small Farms Conference. pg 156.
Technical Abstract: Many of the watermelon cultivars developed in the U.S. during the last 200 years have narrow genetic diversity and are susceptible to a large number of diseases and pests. Wild forms of watermelon collected throughout the world contain resistance to various diseases and pests. The wild watermelon collection is maintained by the USDA, ARS, Plant Genetic Resources and Conservation Unit, Griffin, Georgia (www.ars-grin.gov). Researchers at the U.S. Vegetable Laboratory in Charleston, SC, evaluated the collection of wild watermelons and identified watermelon plants with resistance to nematodes, whiteflies, and spidermites. The researchers are initiating efforts to incorporate the pest resistance of the wild watermelons into watermelon cultivars, so that small and organic farmers can grow them together with other vegetable crops without using pesticides.