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Inheritance of beta-carotene-associated mesocarp color and fruit maturity of melon (Cucumis melo L.)

Abstract

Melon (Cucumis melo L.) fruit production in U.S. can be improved through the introgression of early fruit maturity (FM) and the enhancement of fruit color [i.e., quantity of β-carotene (QβC); orange mesocarp]. However, the genetics of FM and QβC have not been clearly defined in U.S. Western Shipping market class melons (USWS). Thus, a cross was made between the monoecious, early FM Chinese line ‘Q 3-2-2’ (non-carotene accumulating, white mesocarp) and the andromonecious, comparatively late FM USWS line ‘Top Mark’ (carotene accumulating; orange mesocarp) to determine the inheritance of FM and QβC in melon. Parents and derived cross-progenies (F1, F2, F3, BC1P1, and BC1P2) were evaluated for FM and QβC at Hancock, Wisconsin over 2 years. Estimates of narrow-sense heritability (h 2N ) for QβC and FM as defined by F1, F2, and BC (by individuals) were 0.55 and 0.62, respectively, while estimates based on F3 families were 0.68 and 0.57, respectively for these traits. Mesocarp color segregation (F2 and BC1P2) fit a two gene recessive epistatic model, which in turn, interacts with other minor genes. Although the inheritance of QβC and FM is complex, introgression (e.g., by backcrossing) of early FM genes resident in Chinese germplasm into USWS market types is possible. Such introgression may lead to increased yield potential in USWS market types while retaining relatively high β-carotene fruit content (i.e., orange mesocarp), if stringent, multiple location and early generation family selection (F3–4) is practiced for FM with concomitant selection for QβC.

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Cuevas, H.E., Staub, J.E. & Simon, P.W. Inheritance of beta-carotene-associated mesocarp color and fruit maturity of melon (Cucumis melo L.). Euphytica 173, 129–140 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10681-010-0142-y

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Keywords

  • Beta-carotene
  • Carotenoid
  • Exotic germplasm
  • Nutraceutical
  • Vitamin A