Bazgha Zia is a postdoctoral researcher at the United States Vegetable Laboratory in Charleston, S.C. Bazgha’s research includes the development of virus resistant genetic material in cucurbits and identification of novel virus strains.
Citrullus amarus was screened for resistance to Pseudomonas leaf spot. Genetic markers associated with resistance to P. syringae and other diseases were identified. The results will facilitate breeding for resistance to PLS in watermelon.
Anju Biswas is a Post Doctoral fellow in the USDA-ARS-ORISE program at the U. S. Vegetable Laboratory at Charleston, SC. Her mentor is CucCAP Watermelon Team leader, Dr. Amnon Levi. The focus of her work is plant breeding, plant pathology, and genomics.
The CucCAP Watermelon team reported on project progress and ongoing research in April 2023.
The CucCAP watermelon team published 13 journal articles in 2022, 6 journal articles in 2021, and 15 journal articles in 2020.
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.
Before her current position as a Genetic Purity Lab Manager in the Quality Assurance Department at Sakata Seed America, Inc., in Salinas California, Bidisha Chanda worked for the USDA and conducted research for the CucCAP watermelon team at the US Vegetable Laboratory in Charleston, South Carolina.
Watermelon production in the U.S. and around the world faces serious threats by viral diseases, including aphid-transmitted potyviruses: papaya ringspot virus (PRSV) and zucchini yellow mosaic virus (ZYMV). In a recent study, a CucCAP team examined expression of anti-microbial/anti-viral, ribosome-inactivating proteins (RIPs) in watermelons in response to inoculation with PRSV. The PRSV-resistant citron watermelon (Citrullus amarus) exhibited high RIP expression, versus low expression in plants of the susceptible, cultivated “Charleston Gray” watermelon. This finding may offer additional genetic and genomic resources for improving potyvirus-resistance in watermelon cultivars.