Submitted to: Cucurbitaceae Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/10/2006
Publication Date: 8/25/2006
Citation: Staub, J.E., Robbins, M.D., Chung, S., Sun, Z. 2006. Application of molecular markers for cucumber improvement. Cucurbitaceae Proceedings. p. 401-402. Interpretive Summary: Cucumber is an economically important crop species in the U.S. and worldwide. Plant improvement of cucumber originated at the point of its domestication (India) approximately 3,000 years ago. Selection for horticulturally important cucumbers has resulted in plants that are highly disease resistant that bear fruits of high quality. Recently, however, improvement for yield has not been effective since production per unit area has not increased in the last 15 years. Biotechnology (tools that allow for the dissection of genetic components of plants) has been implemented since 1985 to develop tools that would allow for yield improvement in cucumber. This has involved many consecutive research projects that have identified existing technologies or created new technologies that have potential for cucumber improvement. This crop species has become the model for the implementation of these technologies in vegetable crops. This paper communicates to plant scientists in a historical narrative the progression of accomplishments leading to the implementation of biotechnologies for cucumber improvement. Information provided will allow other plant geneticists in related crop species (squash, melon, gourd) to gain insights on how they might implement such technologies in their species. The implementation of these technologies will improve breeding efficiency, decrease the time needed to develop new cultivars, and provide for new cultivars with improved characteristics that will improve the profitability and competitiveness of the U.S. grower.
Technical Abstract: The historicity of marker development, map construction, and the utility of marker-assisted selection is presented. Experimental results indicate that the identification of marker-trait associations will continue to be extremely expensive and time consuming, but will likely pay large dividends for use in MAS. MAS for quantitative trait improvement will require a population-specific evaluation of genotypic background, and an understanding of physiology (source-sink relationships), epistasis, and heritabilities.