Genome-wide identification of flowering time genes in cucurbit plants and revealed a gene ClGA2/KS associate with adaption and flowering of watermelon

  • Licong YiEmail author
  • Yunqiang Wang
  • Xing Huang
  • Yu Gong
  • Shujing Wang
  • Zhaoyi DaiEmail author
Original Article


Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) is one of the major cucurbit crop that cultivated all over the world. Adaptability and flowering time are important agronomic characteristics that influence the quality and yield of watermelon, however, the molecular basis underlying these traits were still unclear. In this study, we identified 166, 182, 178, and 279 flowering genes in watermelon, melon, cucumber and pumpkin, respectively, and found that a lot of genes in the photoperiodic, autonomous, and vernalization pathways were absence in the four cucurbits. A higher ratio of flowering time genes was identified in the hormone pathway in cucurbits than in Arabidopsis, and a higher average ka/ks value of hormone pathway genes than the photoperiodic and vernalization pathway genes was identified in watermelon. Moreover, a gene ClGA2/KS (Cla005482) were found to associated with ecotype differentiation, flowering time, and whole growth period in watermelon. This study added knowledge to the molecular basis of flowering time regulation in cucurbits, and the molecule marker of ClGA2/KS gene may facilitate the breeding progress for selecting watermelon varieties with superior adaption and flowering time.


Cucurbits Watermelon Adaption Flowering time ClGA2/KS 



This study was supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology of The People’s Republic of China (Grant No. 2018YFD0100704), the Ministry of Agriculture of China (CARS-25), and the Agricultural science and technology innovation center project of Hubei (Grant No. 2019-620-000-001-07).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest

Supplementary material

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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hubei Key Laboratory of Vegetable Germplasm Enhancement and Genetic Improvement, Institute of Cash CropsHubei Academy of Agricultural ScienceWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Environment and Plant Protection InstituteChinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural SciencesHaikouPeople’s Republic of China

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