Tracking Virus Resistance Genes in Watermelon Made Easier

Dec 29, 2009 By Stephanie Yao
Tracking Virus Resistance Genes in Watermelon Made Easier
ARS scientists and their university and international cooperators have found molecular markers for watermelon genes that can confer resistance to the devastating zucchini yellow mosaic virus, which seriously affects the worldwide. commercial production of cucurbit crops. Photo courtesy of Microsoft Clipart.

(PhysOrg.com) -- Finding watermelon genes that confer resistance to the devastating zucchini yellow mosaic virus (ZYMV) has just been made easier, thanks to molecular markers developed by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists and university and international cooperators.

ZYMV, a member of the Potyvirus family, seriously affects the commercial production of cucurbit crops like worldwide. Potyviruses are the largest of the 34 plant virus families currently recognized, most of which are transmitted by aphids. Cucurbit plants infected with ZYMV lose their ability to photosynthesize, resulting in yellow mosaic on leaves, stunted plant growth, unmarketable and deformed fruit, or even early plant death.

In the United States, spraying watermelon fields with insecticides is the most common practice to reduce the presence of aphids that spread the virus. Still, the development of commercial varieties that are resistant to the virus is the most economic and effective method for controlling the disease.

ARS plant virologist Kai-Shu Ling and geneticist Amnon Levi, with the agency's U.S. Vegetable Laboratory in Charleston, S.C.; geneticist Karen Harris, now with the ARS Crop Genetics and Breeding Research Unit in Tifton, Ga.; and geneticist Michael Havey, with the ARS Research Unit in Madison, Wis., collaborated with scientists in France and at North Carolina State University to sequence and clone a gene called eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E (eIF4E), which the scientists believe confers resistance to ZYMV in watermelon.

The scientists have also identified single (SNPs, pronounced "snips") that are potentially responsible for resistance to ZYMV in watermelon. SNPs are variations in that can affect and functions and, in this case, how a plant responds to ZYMV.

Based on these SNPs mutations, two molecular markers, named CAPS-1 and CAPS-2, have been developed to help facilitate watermelon breeding through marker-assisted selections. Currently, advanced watermelon breeding lines with resistance to ZYMV are under development at the ARS Charleston laboratory for future public releases.

Details of this study, which was partially funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), can be found in the scientific journal Theoretical and Applied Genetics.

Explore further: How does enzymatic pretreatment affect the nanostructure and reaction space of lignocellulosic biomass?

Provided by USDA Agricultural Research Service

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Watermelon: Fruit on the Fast Track

Dec 14, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists are studying how watermelons grow from tiny flowers to plus-size, market-ready produce in only five weeks. Their findings have resulted in the ...

Watermelon's hidden killer

Sep 04, 2009

Watermelon vine decline (WVD) is a new and emerging disease that has created devastating economic losses for watermelon producers in Florida. Caused by the whitefly-transmitted squash vein yellowing virus (SqVYV), the disease ...

Keep watermelon out of the frig

Jul 31, 2006

Government researchers in Washington advise against storing watermelon in the refrigerator if you want to maximize its health benefits.

New Peas Unfazed by Viral Bully

Dec 04, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Four advanced dry pea breeding lines that tolerate the pea enation mosaic virus (PEMV) -- a “scourge” of Pacific West pea crops -- have been identified by Agricultural Research Service ...

Hardy New Corn Lines Released

Oct 16, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Six new inbred maize lines with resistance to aflatoxin contamination have now been registered in the United States by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS). ARS plant pathologist Robert ...

Recommended for you

The origin of the language of life

9 hours ago

The genetic code is the universal language of life. It describes how information is encoded in the genetic material and is the same for all organisms from simple bacteria to animals to humans. However, the ...

Quest to unravel mysteries of our gene network

Dec 18, 2014

There are roughly 27,000 genes in the human body, all but a relative few of them connected through an intricate and complex network that plays a dominant role in shaping our physiological structure and functions.

EU court clears stem cell patenting

Dec 18, 2014

A human egg used to produce stem cells but unable to develop into a viable embryo can be patented, the European Court of Justice ruled on Thursday.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.