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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Charleston, South Carolina » Vegetable Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #334624

Title: Genetic Resources of Watermelon

item Levi, Amnon
item Jarret, Robert - Bob
item Kousik, Chandrasekar - Shaker
item Wechter, William - Pat
item NIMMAKAYALA, P - West Virginia State University
item REDDY, UMESH - West Virginia State University

Submitted to: Molecular Breeding
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/27/2017
Publication Date: 6/15/2017
Citation: Levi, A., Jarret, R.L., Kousik, C.S., Wechter, W.P., Nimmakayala, P., Reddy, U. 2017. Genetic Resources of Watermelon. In: Grumet R., Garcia-Mas J., and Katzir N., editors. Genetics and Genomics of Cucurbitaceae. Springer International Publishing AG 2016. p. 87-110. https://doi:10.1007/7397_2016_34.

Interpretive Summary: N/A

Technical Abstract: As a result of many years of domestication and selection for desirable fruit quality, watermelon cultivars (Citrullus lanatus) share a narrow genetic base. Africa is the center of origin and diversity of watermelon and is considered to be the central continent for collecting and conserving useful germplasm for enhancing cultivars with resistance to diseases and pests. The major Citrullus spp. or subspecies that have been used for enhancing disease and pest resistance in watermelon cultivars include: 1) Citrullus lanatus var. citroides (CLC) (also refereed as C. amarus), found throughout southern Africa; 2) C. lanatus var. lanatus (CLL) which exists mainly in central and western Africa; and 3) the perennial bitter desert watermelon C. colocynthis (CC) that exists in the deserts of Northern Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. C. lanatus var. lanatus includes the ’egusi’ type watermelons with large seeds rich in proteins and fatty acids, and sweet-desert watermelons with high lycopene and sugar content. The Citrullus species and subspecies are genetically diverse and considered to be a viable resource for identifying resistance to watermelon diseases, including fungal and oomycete diseases Fusarium wilt, anthracnose, gummy stem blight, Phytophthora capsici, powdery mildew, downy mildew; viruses such as the watermelon strain of Papaya ring-spot virus and Zucchini yellow mosaic virus, and Squash vein yellowing virus (SqVYV); and insect pests such as root-knot nematodes, whiteflies, and mites.