Project overview

diagram of processes and goals

Overview of CucCAP project workflow

The objectives of the CucCAP project are to develop genomic approaches and tools for cucurbit species,  perform genomic-assisted breeding to introgress disease resistance into cucurbit cultivars, to perform economic impact analyses of cost of production and disease control, and to provide readily accessible information to facilitate disease controlEach objective includes integrated research and extension & outreach approaches.

Research Approaches of CucCAP

  1. Develop genomic approaches and tools for cucurbit species. Develop genomic and bioinformatic platforms for: genotyping by sequencing (GBS); sequence data processing and analysis; and genotype, phenotype and QTL databases. Perform GBS analysis of PI collections and core populations of the four species to provide a community resource for genome wide association studies (GWAS) for current and future traits of interest.
  2. Utilize genomic approaches to map resistance loci for key cucurbit diseases. Develop and verify molecular markers for efficient trait selection and gene pyramiding. Introgress resistances into advanced breeding lines.
  3. Define, parameterize, simulate, and validate production variables based on cucurbit production crop budgets. Use a risk-based simulation model to analyze economic potential of the disease resistant cucurbit cultivars.

Extension & Outreach Approaches of CucCAP

  1. Provide access to cucurbit genomics tools and databases via the Cucurbit Genomics Database website, and by genomics and bioinformatics workshops open to all members of the cucurbit scientific and breeding communities
  2. Provide web-based and face to face information via field trials, extension venues, and scientific meetings regarding breeding materials, markers, and breeding progress
  3. Develop a centralized cucurbit disease website, including content in English and Spanish, providing information about diagnostics and links to disease clinics; disease control recommendations; disease alerts and links to forecasting tools.

Disease priorities as identified by the cucurbit commodity groups

  • Cucumber: Downy mildew, Phytopthora fruit rot
  • Melon: Powdery mildew, Cucumber mosaic virus, Cucurbit yellow stunting disorder virus
  • Squash/Pumpkin: Phytophthora fruit rot, Powdery mildew
  • Watermelon: Fusarium wilt, Gummy stem blight, Phytophthora rot, Powdery mildew, Papaya ringspot virus, Cucumber green mottle mosaic virus

Although the primary disease pressures vary among the crops, the different crops share a suite of common diseases.  In many cases, diseases that are priorities for one crop also affect the others, but less severely.

Table 1. Major disease threats to cucurbit crop production as identified by cucurbit industry stakeholders.


Identified as commodity funding prioritya

Also affects:

Downy mildew cucumber melon, watermelon, squash/pumpkin
Fusarium wilt watermelon melon, cucumber
Gummy stem blight watermelon melon, cucumber, squash/pumpkin
Phytophthora rot cucumber, watermelon, squash/pumpkin melon
Powdery mildew melon, watermelon, squash/pumpkin cucumber
Viruses: CMVb, CYSDVc,PRSV-Wd, CGMMVe melonb,c, watermelond,e cucumberc,e, squash/pumpkinb,d

aby National Watermelon Association, California Melon Research Board or Pickle Packers International

bCMV – Cucumber mosaic virus; cCYSDV – Cucurbit yellow stunting disorder virus; dPRSV-W – watermelon strain of Papaya ringspot virus; eCGMMV – Cucumber green mottle mosaic virus