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Research Project: Genetic Enhancement of Watermelon, Broccoli, and Leafy Brassicas for Economically Important Traits

Location: Vegetable Research

Title: Using genomic data for enhancing disease and pest resistance in watermelon cultivars

Author
item Levi, Amnon
item Massey, Laura
item Donahoo, Ryan
item Jarret, Robert - Bob
item Wechter, William - Pat
item Thies, Judy
item Kousik, Chandrasekar - Shaker
item Ling, Kai-shu
item Reddy, U - West Virginia State University
item Nimmakayala, P - West Virginia State University
item Fei, Z - Boyce Thompson Institute

Submitted to: Cucurbitaceae Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/20/2014
Publication Date: 10/26/2014
Citation: Levi, A., Massey, L.M., Donahoo, R.S., Jarret, R.L., Wechter, W.P., Thies, J.A., Kousik, C.S., Ling, K., Reddy, U.K., Nimmakayala, P., Fei, Z. 2014. Using genomic data for enhancing disease and pest resistance in watermelon cultivars. Cucurbitaceae Proceedings. 161-163.

Interpretive Summary: N/A

Technical Abstract: There is a continuous need to enhance watermelon cultivars for disease and pest resistance. The U.S. Plant Introductions (PIs) of Citrullus spp. is a valuable source for enhancing disease and pest resistance in watermelon cultivars. The watermelon genome sequence project brings new opportunities in discovery of disease or pest resistance gene sequences. The recent international watermelon genome sequencing project revealed gene sequences that were preferentially selected, while other gene sequences, among them several disease-resistance genes, may have been lost during domestication. To elucidate the underlying process of watermelon evolution and domestication we designed polymerase chain reaction (PCR) primer pairs for 49 gene sequences that are not found in the cultivated red-sweet watermelon but exit in C. lanatus var. citroides, and have been designated as "lost" gene sequences. Using the primer pairs we conducted PCR experiments with genotypes representing the different Citrullus species. Population structure and principle component analyses elucidated genetic relationships and existence of the "lost" gene sequences in PIs representing C. lanatus var. citroides, C. lanatus var. lanatus, C. colocynthis, C. ecirhosus, and C. rehmii and in watermelon cultivars (C. lanatus var. lanatus). The genomic data in this study should be useful in future breeding programs aiming to enhance disease resistance in watermelon.