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Gene List for Other Genera of Cucurbitaceae 2008
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by Marlene Taja and Todd C. Wehner


The Cucurbitaceae includes many important vegetables species, including cucumber, melon and watermelon. Those are major crop species originally from the Old World: cucumber from India; melon and watermelon from Africa (Wehner and Maynard, 2003). However, there are other important species originally from Africa such as gherkin (Cucumis anguria), African horned melon (Cucumis metuliferus), bottle gourd (Lagenaria siceraria); and species originally from India such as sponge gourd (Luffa spp.), Melothria (Melothria medraspatana) and bitter melon (Momordica charantia). They have fruit that are used for food, decoration, containers, utensils or sponges. The exception is Melothria, which has medicinal uses (Iman et al., 2006).

Gene List Update

The following list is the latest version of the gene list for the miscellaneous species and genera of the Cucurbitaceae. The genes originally were organized and summarized by Robinson (1979, 1982). This current gene list provides an update of the known genes, with 20 total mutants grouped by species.

Researchers are encouraged to send reports of new genes, as well as seed samples of lines having the gene mutant to the gene curator (Mark G. Hutton), or the assistant curator (Thomas C. Andres). Please inform us of omissions or errors in the gene list. Scientists should consult the list as well as the rules of gene nomenclature for the Cucurbitaceae (Cucurbit Gene List Committee, 1982; Robinson et al., 1976) before choosing a gene name and symbol. Please choose a gene name and symbol with the fewest characters that describes the recessive mutant, and avoid use of duplicate gene names and symbols. The rules of gene nomenclature were adopted in order to provide guidelines for naming and symbolizing genes. Scientists are urged to contact members of the gene list committee regarding rules and gene symbols. The gene curators for other genera of the Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative are collecting seeds of the type lines for use by interested researchers, and would like to receive seed samples of any of the lines listed.

This gene list has been modified from previous lists in that we have expanded the gene descriptions of the phenotypes of the gene mutants, and added genes not previously described: Bt, S and P (Cucumis anguria), Prsv (Cucumis metuliferus), S (Lagenaria siceraria), and gy-1 (Momordica charantia).

Previous Gene Lists

West Indian Gherkin (Cucumis anguria)

Four gene loci have been described so far for West Indian gherkin. A single dominant gene produces bitter fruit: Bt (Koch and Costa, 1991). Another dominant gene controls resistance to Cucumber green mottle mosaic virus: Cgm (den Nijs, 1982). Two loci control fruit spininess: S and P (Koch and Costa, 1991).

African horned cucumber (Cucumis metuliferus)

Watermelon mosaic virus-1 resistance is controlled by a single dominant gene Wmv (Provvidenti and Robinson, 1972). Another single dominant gene, Prsv controlled resistance to Papaya ringspot virus (Provvidenti and Gonsalves, 1982). The resistant type line was PI 292190, and the susceptible type line was Acc. 2459.

Bottle Gourd (Lagenaria siceraria)

Red pumpkin beetle (Aulacophora faveicollis) resistance is controlled by a single dominant gene Af (Vashishta and Choudhury, 1972). Different genes affect shape and color of the fruit in bottle gourd. The genotype bb produces bottle-shaped fruit, and BB produces disk-shaped fruit. The genotype rr produces round fruit shape that is also recessive to the genotype RR, with disk-shaped fruit. The gene db interacts with b to produce an F2 of 9 club: 3 round: 4 dumbbell-shaped fruit (Tyagi, 1976). Dark green fruit color is controlled by the genotype GG which is dominant to the genotype gg with light green fruit color (Tyagi, 1976). The genotype lb lb controls the light brown seed coat color, but it is recessive to the genotype Lb Lb with brown seed coat color (Tyagi, 1976).

Four normal-leaf parents (Pusa Naveen, PBOG 13, PBOG 22 and PBOG 61) were crossed with segmented-leaf parents (PBOG 54) of bottle gourd to study the inheritance of segmented leaf shape. Normal leaf shape parents showed true breeding normal leaf type plants. However, the segmented-leaf parent (PBOG 54) surprisingly segregated in a ratio of 3 segmented: 1 normal leaf shape plants. Moreover, FIS also segregated in 1 segmented: 1 normal leaf shape suggesting that the parental cultivar PBOG 54 was heterozygous for leaf shape gene and the segmented leaf was dominant over normal type. The segregation in the backcrosses in to 1 segmented: 1 normal leaf type confirmed that a single dominant geneS is responsible for segmented leaf shape character in bottle gourd (Akhilesh and Ram, 2006).

Luffa Sponge Gourd (Smooth Luffa) (Luffa aegyptiaca), Luffa Ridge Gourd (Angled Luffa) (L. acutangula)

The gynoecious gene g (Choudhury and Thakur, 1965) interacts with andromonoecious gene a to produce the following phenotypes: monecious or trimonoecious (AA GG), andromonoecious (aa GG), gynoecious (AA gg), or hermaphroditic (aa gg) plants.

Melothria (Melothria medraspatana)

Small seed size (3.0 mm) is controlled by the gene s (Sing, 1972) that is recessive to SS for large seed size (3.6 mm). The gene w controls the white seed coat color if ww, if Ww it the color will be ashy, and black if WW (Sing, 1972).

Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia)

Light brown seed lbs (Ram et al., 2006) is inherited as a single gene that is recessive to dark brown. Large seed size is controlled by the gene ls, which is recessive to small seed size (Srivastava and Nath, 1972). White immature fruit skin is controlled by the genotype ww for white epicarp that is recessive to the genotype WW for green epicarp (Srivastava and Nath, 1972).

Ram et al. (2006) reported that gynoecism in Gy263B was controlled by a single recessive gene gy-1. The gynoecious plants of Gy263B had significantly longer (200 cm) vine length than their monoecious counterparts (127.5 cm).

Table 1. The morphological and resistance genes of the miscellaneous genera and species of the Cucurbitaceae, including gene symbol, description, and references.


Gene description and type lines


Cucumis anguria


Bitter fruit. Fruit with bitter flavor due to a single dominant gene determined in the segregating populations of Cucumis anguria x C. longipes.

Koch and Costa, 1991


Cucumber green mottle resistance.

den Nijs, 1982


Spine fruit. The fruit spininess is determined in the segregating populations of Cucumis anguria x C. longipes. by two pairs of independent genes.

Koch and Costa, 1991


Spine fruit. The fruit spininess is determined in the segregating populations of Cucumis anguria x C. longipes. by two pairs of independent genes.

Koch and Costa, 1991

Cucumis metuliferus


Papaya ringspot virus resistance. Resistance to papaya ringspot virus; dominant to susceptibility.

Provvident and Gonsalves, 1982


Watermelon mosaic virus resistance. Resistance to watermelon virus-1; dominant to susceptibility.

Provvidenti and Robinson, 1972

Lagenaria siceraria


Aulacophora foveicollis resistance. Resistance dominant to susceptibility to the red pumpkin beetle.

Vashishta and Choudhury, 1972


bottle. Bottle-shaped fruit recessive to disk.

Tyagi, 1976


dumbbell. Interacts with b to produce F2 of 9 club: 3 round: 4 dumbbell-shaped fruit.

Tyagi, 1976


Green. Dark green fruit color; dominant to light green.

Tyagi, 1976


light brown seed. Light brown seed coat color recessive to brown.

Tyagi, 1976


round. Round fruit; recessive to disk fruit shape.

Tyagi, 1976


Segmented leaves. A single dominant gene which is responsible for segmented leaf shape in bottle gourd from PBOG 54 (heterozygous for segmented leaf shape).

Akhilesh and Ram, 2006

Luffa spp.


gynoecious. Pistillate flowers only; interacts with a to produce monoecious or trimonoecious (AA GG), andromonoecious (aa GG), gynoecious (AA gg), or hermaphroditic (aa gg) plants.

Choudhury and Thakur, 1965

Melothria medraspatana


small seeds. Small (3.0 mm) seed recessive to large (3.6 mm).

Sing, 1972


white seeds. White seed coat if ww, ashy if Ww, and black if WW.

Sing, 1972

Momordica charantia


gynoecious Recessive gene for high degree of pistillate sex expression from Gy263B (100% gynoecious line).

Ram et al., 2006


light brown seed. Light brown seed coat color; recessive to dark brown.

Srivastava and Nath, 1972


large seed. Large seed size; recessive to small seed size.

Srivastava and Nath, 1972


white epicarp. White immature fruit skin; recessive to green.

Srivastava and Nath, 1972

Literature Cited

  1. Akhilesh, T. and H.H. Ram. 2006. Qualitative inheritance of segmented leaf shape in bottle gourd (Lagenaria siceraria (Molina) Standl.).  33 (2), p. 117-121 (abstract).Vegetable Science
  2. Benzioni, A., V.M. Mendlinger, S. Huyskens. 1993. Germination, fruits development, yield and post harvest characteristics of C. metuliferus. In: J. Janick and J.E. Simon (eds) New crops. Wiley, New York. pp. 553-557.
  3. Choudhury, B. and M.R. Thakur. 1965. Inheritance of sex forms in Luffa. Indian J. Genet. Pl. Breed. 25:188-197.
  4. den Nijs, A.P.M. 1982. Inheritance of resistance to cucumber green mottle virus (CGMV) in Cucumis anguria L. Cucurbit Genetics Coop. Rpt. 5:56-57.
  5. Iman, R.A., B.L. Priya, R. Chithra, K. Shalini, V. Sharon, D. Chamundeeswari, and J. Vasantha. 2006. In vitro antiplatelet activity-guided fractionation of aerial parts of Melothria maderaspatana. Indian J. Pharm. Sci. 68:668-670.
  6. Koch, P.S. and C.P. daCosta. 1991. Inheritance of plant and fruit characters in gherkin. Horticultura Brasileira 9 (2): 73-77 (abstract).
  7. Morton, J.F. 1987. The horned cucumber alias "Kiwano" (Cucumis metuliferus, cucurbitaceae). Econ. Botany 41: 325-326.
  8. Provvidenti, R. and D. Gonsalves. 1982. Resistance to papaya ringspot virus in Cucumis metuliferus and its relationship to resistance to watermelon mosaic virus 1.J. Heredity 73(3): 239-240.
  9. Provvidenti, R. and R.W. Robinson. 1972. Inheritance of resistance to watermelon mosaic virus in Cucumis metuliferus. J. Hered. 68:56-57.
  10. Ram, D., S. Kumar, M. Singh, M. Rai and G. Kalloo. 2006. Inheritance of gynoecism in bitter gourd (Momordica charantia L.). J. Heredity 97(3):294-295.
  11. Robinson, R.W. 1979. New genes for the Cucurbitaceae. Cucurbit Genetics Coop. Rpt. 2:49-53.
  12. Robinson, R.W. 1982. Update of Cucurbit gene list and nomenclature rules. Cucurbit Genetics Coop. Rpt. 5:62-66.
  13. Sing, A.K. 1972. Inheritance of some seed characters in Melothria medraspatana (L.) Conz. Balwant Vidyapeeth Jour. Agr. Sci. Res. 14:56-57.
  14. Srivastava, V.K. and P. Nath. 1972. Inheritance of some qualitative characters in Momordica charantia L. Indian J. Hort. 29:319-321.
  15. Tyagi, I.D. 1976. Inheritance of some qualitative characters in bottle gourd (Lagenaria siceraria Standal). Indian J. Hort. 33:78-82.
  16. Vashishta, R.N. and B. Choudhury. 1972. Inheritance of resistance to red pumpkin beetle in muskmelon, bottle gourd and watermelon. Proc. 3rd Intern. Symposium Sub-Trop. Hort. 1:75-81.
  17. Wehner, T.C. and D.N. Maynard. 2003. Cucumbers, melons, and other cucurbits. In: S.H. Katz (editor) Encyclopedia of Food and Culture. Scribner & Sons, New York, 2014 p.
  18. Wehner, T.C. and D.N. Maynard. 2003. Cucurbitaceae (vine crops). In: Encyclopedia of Life. Nature Publishing.