The story of watermelon’s origins is one of the best examples of how domesticated plants have evolved into wild counterparts. Feral species can escape domestication and establish themselves in the wild. In the study, the authors looked at the relationship between the domesticated watermelon and the Kordofan melon. The study concluded that the feral varieties might hold more genetic diversity than the domesticated ones. This theory has several interesting implications for the future of watermelon.
Contributors to evolution of watermelon
The origins of the watermelon are uncertain, but recent genetic studies show that it probably originated in northeast Africa. The melons in this region of Africa measure about six inches in diameter and have bright green and white stripes on their exteriors. The melons also help explain the appearance of watermelon-like artwork found in a 4,300-year-old Egyptian tomb. The authors thank these researchers for their assistance.
Archaeological records have revealed that an ancient melon from Sudan was the direct ancestor of the watermelon. This species had larger populations during the African Humid Period, which would have made it close to wild populations. But the archaeological record is limited. It is also unclear if any of the Kordofan melons survived in the wild or underwent multiple hybridisation/admitition events.
Physicochemical and functional characteristics of watermelon seeds have been studied. The seeds contain high levels of anti-nutrients. Seeds that have been sprouted, however, are low in anti-nutrients. These properties suggest that watermelon seed powders may be suitable for use in baking. Further studies are needed to determine the exact antioxidant and nutrient content of watermelon fruit.
Firmness is one of the main characteristics of watermelon. This property is related to the number of parenchymatic cells and their density. Previous researches have found that triploid cultivars had higher firmness. High levels of water-soluble pectins and organic acids have also been found to affect pulp firmness. Postharvest handling and storage of watermelons affect the fruit’s TSS. In addition, ripeness and storage time also have a profound impact on TSS.
The evolution of resistance to watermelon pests can be traced to its host plant. In particular, resistance to the fruit fly Bactrocera cucurbitae (Coquillett) is important for integrated pest management. In a recent study, the genetics of watermelon were analyzed to assess antixenotic and allelochemical traits. Both antixenotic and allelochemical traits were associated with melon fly resistance in a hot arid region of India.
To make the process of breeding watermelon more efficient, Fei will collaborate with Rebecca Grumet, a plant breeder at Michigan State University. In CucCAP, Fei’s lab will genotype a total of 10,000 cucurbit species and use this genetic information to develop breeding tool kits. These breeding tool kits will help farmers improve watermelon varieties more quickly. And by using these tools, watermelon breeding can be more productive and more abundant.
Origins in the Indian subcontinent
The origins of watermelon in the Indian sub-continent are disputed. While a popular candidate for ancient ancestor is the citron melon, it is also cultivated in western Africa and the Indian sub-continent. The egusi melon was cultivated in Western Africa for its edible seeds and flesh. The Egyptians also cultivated watermelon. Its history dates back to at least 4,000 years.
Some evidence points to the watermelon’s origins in Egypt. Egypt’s tomb paintings contain paintings and seeds of watermelons, which may have been cultivated. Some of the paintings show an oval watermelon that was improved from the round wild variety. These early improvements probably improved the texture of the fruit and made it more enjoyable for the human diet. Nonetheless, it is not clear if the Egyptians were eating watermelons during their time.
Despite the fact that watermelon genotypes are generally similar, they show little genetic variation. For example, watermelon varieties grown in different countries are very similar, but native varieties from the same country may differ. Commercial varieties of watermelon may not be genetically similar to the native types of Turkey, but using different genotypes can increase the variety and diversity of the crop. This article will discuss the methods used to increase the genetic diversity of watermelon.
A study was conducted to examine the genetic diversity of watermelon by bulking individuals. The analysis compared genotypes from 25 populations. While Arabistan and Taskent genotypes were associated in individual analyses, they were separated in bulk analysis. This result suggests that bulking individuals during diversity assessment is an effective technique in reducing the number of screened individuals. The results of the study also suggest that breeding efforts should be targeted towards enhancing genetic diversity.