Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/5/2015
Publication Date: 9/1/2015
Citation: Simmons, A.M., Levi, A. 2015. Developing resistance for watermelon against whiteflies (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae). Abstracts of the Royal Entomological Society National Science Meeting and International Symposium, Ento '15. Pg. 37.
Interpretive Summary: N/A
Technical Abstract: Host plant resistance is a fundamental component of crop sustainability. The sweetpotato whitefly, Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae), is a key pest of many crops around the world. It is adaptive to its environment and feeds on an impressive (over 1,000) number of plant species. Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus var. lanatus) is among the crops attacked by this pest through direct feeding and indirectly by the over 100 plant viruses this whitefly transmits. On the one hand, commercial watermelon cultivars share a narrow genetic base and they are susceptible to many pests and diseases. On the other hand, Citrullus colocynthis is a wild perennial desert melon species that is a viable source of resistance to insect pests and diseases of watermelon. This melon is indigenous to arid regions of Northern Africa, the Mediterranean, and Southwest Asia. Laboratory, greenhouse and field experiments were conducted on Citrullus genotypes from different geographic regions for resistance against B. tabaci. We use traditional and molecular approaches to improve cultivated watermelon. Sources of genotypes that may be useful for improving whitefly resistance in watermelon cultivars were identified and germplasm lines are being developed and crossed with watermelon cultivars.