Inheritance and Evolution of the Cucurbit Organellar Genomes

in HortScience

The cucurbits have several-fold size differences in their mitochondrial genomes. Watermelon possesses a relatively small mitochondrial genome of 330 kb. Squash has a larger mitochondrial genome of 840 kb. Cucumber and melon possess huge mitochondrial genomes of 1500 and 2400 kb, respectively. We demonstrated predominately paternal transmission of the mitochondrial genome in cucumber. Squash shows maternal transmission of the chloroplast genome. We generated reciprocal crosses and identified restriction fragment length polymorphisms in the chloroplast and mitochondrial genomes of melon, squash, and watermelon to establish their transmission. Our analyses also revealed that intergenomic transfers contributed to the evolution of extremely large mitochondrial genomes.

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