Meet the CucCAP Watermelon Team

Watermelon Breeding, Genomics, and Pathology

watermelon graphicThe CucCAP watermelon team is breeding watermelon for resistance to major diseases : Fusarium wilt race 1, Fusarium wilt race 2 , Gummy stem blight, Phytophthora rot, Powdery mildew, PRSV, ZYMV, and CGMMV.

Objectives for the coming years include: finalizing analysis of QTL associated with resistance to major diseases of watermelon, developing and validating molecular markers (KASP) tightly linked to gene loci associated with resistance to major diseases; incorporating resistances into watermelon cultivars using marker assisted selection (MAS) and phenotyping; and developing and releasing resistant breeding lines or varieties. The watermelon team will conduct multi-site field phenotyping in collaboration with CucCAP’s Integrated Disease Management Team.

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Amnon Levi

Dr. Levi is a Research Geneticist at the USDA-ARS Vegetable Laboratory  in Charleston, SC. He is the principal investigator for the CucCAP Watermelon team.

Sandra Branham

Dr. Branham is an Assistant Professor in the Plant and Environmental Sciences Department at Clemson University’s Coastal Research and Education Center. She specializes in Vegetable Breeding and Genetics. A new graduate student will work with Dr. Branham.

Cecilia McGregor

Dr. McGregor specializes in watermelon breeding, genetics and genomics at the University of Georgia Department of Horticulture. Graduate students, Lincoln Adams and Samiksya Rijal will map and intogress gummy stem blight resistance loci.

Kai-Shu Ling

Dr. Kai-Shu Ling is a Research Plant Pathologist at the USDA-ARS vegetable lab in Charleston, SC.

Shaker Kousik

Dr. Chandrasekar S. Kousik is a Research Plant Pathologist at the USDA-ARS vegetable lab in Charleston, SC.

Umesh Reddy

Dr. Umesh Reddy is a Professor of Genetics and Genomics in the Department of Biology at West Virginia State University. Dr. Reddy’s lab specializes in genomics of significant traits in melons and other comercially important plants.

Pat Wechter

Dr. William Patrick Wechter is a Research Plant Pathologist at the USDA-ARS vegetable lab in Charleston, SC.

CucCAP1 Watermelon Breeding Accomplishments

In the first CucCAP grant the watermelon team developed genetic tools for top priority diseases identified by the cucurbit industries.

  • Fusarium wilt race 1 – the watermelon team identified QTL (91,101); developed markers (91,95); and identified new resistances (92).
  • Fusarium wilt race 2 – the watermelon team identified QTL (88,94,102); and released a breeding line (127).
  • Gummy stem blight – inheritance of resistance (120); The team identified QTL and developed markers.
  • Phytophthora rot – identifying evaluation for resistance (57,59); released breeding line (135); and identified new sources of resistance (136).
  • Powdery mildew – variety evaluation (49,57-59); released breeding lines (129,135); and identified QTL.
  • PRSV – the watermelon team identified inheritance of resistance (119); identified new source (121); and identified QTL (94).
  • ZYMV – the watermelon team identified inheritance of resistance (119); released breeding line (130,131); screened for new sources (122);a and identified QTL.
  • CGMMV – the team released a resistant breeding line and generated populations.

Watermelon Team News