Cucurbit fruits come in different shapes and sizes, controlled by genes underlying cell size and number. In a recent study, a team at West Virginia State University (WVSU) identified genetic factors underlying the giant fruit size of the mammoth group of Cucurbita maxima. The study elucidated genome diversity and identified single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers associated with genes controlling fruit size. In addition to the genomic toolkit useful for breeding programs aiming at pumpkin fruit traits, this study provides insight into population differentiation and evolutionary origins of rare variants contributing to the giant fruit size of certain pumpkin varieties.
CucCAP Project Team
Contributions to the CucCAP project by the Bioinformatics Team, Cucurbit Crop Breeding Teams, and the Integrated Disease Management Team.
Cucurbit growers support endowment
Growers, packers and producers of cucumber, watermelon and sweetpotato established the Vegetable Pathology Support Endowment on behalf of Dr. Lina Quesada’s vegetable pathology lab at NC State University through Pickle Packers International, Inc. in 2022.
CucCAP scientists genetically map novel sources of resistance to cucurbit downy mildew in watermelon
Watermelon crops are increasingly threatened by infection by cucurbit downy mildew. While there are limited sources of disease resistance within cultivated watermelon, Citrullus amarus can be a valuable source of resistances. CucCAP scientists performed disease resistance screening and whole genome resequencing of 122 C. amarus accessions. Genome wide association analysis of these materials identified several marker-trait associations and candidate genes, providing potential resources for genomics-assisted breeding for resistance to CDM in watermelon.
Early Career Scientist Spotlight | Mariana Prieto Torres
Mariana Prieto Torres is a graduate student in the Vegetable Pathology Lab at NC State University and is working on a PhD under the guidance of her major professor, Dr. Lina Quesada
Protect Against Gummy Stem Blight
It is never too early for watermelon producers in the Southeast to start thinking about management options for gummy stem blight disease. As Clemson Extension vegetable pathologist Tony Keinath puts it, “Early is on time.”
Cucurbitaceae 2022 brings together international cucurbit community
The Cucurbitaceae 2022 conference was held in Naples, Florida on October 30 – November 2. The conference was organized by CucCAP co-PIs Geoffrey Meru from the University of Florida and Cecilia McGregor from the University of Georgia. Researchers and industry representatives from North America, Europe and Asia shared information about cucurbit genomics, breeding, disease resistance and cultivation. CucCAP researchers presented 28 talks and posters.
CucCAP scientists identified candidate gene contributing to resistance to downy mildew in cucumber
Downy mildew (DM) is an important disease of cucumber and other cucurbits. Many quantitative trait loci (QTL) have been identified from different resistant resources but very few have been fine mapped or cloned. CucCAP researchers in USDA-ARS and the University of Wisconsin Madison reported identification and functional characterization of the candidate gene for the major-effect QTL, dm5.3, for DM resistance from the plant introduction line PI 197088. This gene, which can enhance plant disease signaling, is currently being used to breed for disease resistance in cucumber.
Cucurbit Genomics Database version 2
Version 2 of the Cucurbit Genomics database (CuGenDBv2) was released in April 2022. Database users will notice improved speed and performance.The updated database includes 33 reference genomes from 26 cucurbit species/subspecies belonging to 10 different genera; novel functions for mining and analysis of large-scale variant data; and a comprehensive cucurbit expression atlas.