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.
CucCAP researchers developed 5 Phytophthora fruit rot resistant watermelon germplasm lines with high levels of resistance against a broad range of diverse P. capsici isolates collected from across the United States.
Luis Rivera-Burgos worked on breeding watermelon for gummy stem blight resistance with Dr. Todd Wehner on the first CucCAP project. Their research focused on the evaluation of resistance to Gummy Stem Blight in a population of recombinant inbred lines of watermelon x Citron.
Watermelon Breeding, Genetics, Genomics, Pathology, and Disease Management Publications & Presentations
The watermelon team is led by Amnon Levi. Team objectives are to develop genomic, bioinformatic, mapping approaches and tools for cucurbits, map and develop markers for disease resistance, and introgress, pyramid/stack resistances into advanced breeding lines.
Umesh Reddy and team at WVSU and Amnon Levi and team at USDA, ARS used advance genome sequencing technology to study the effect of genome doubling on gene expression in tetraploid watermelon versus their counterpart diploid watermelon parental plants.
CucCAP scientist Samikshya Rijal is working on watermelon breeding and genetics. Her primary goal is to assist in the development of gummy stem blight (GSB) resistant breeding material.