150 THE IDENTIFICATION OF TETRAPLOID REGENERANTS FROM COTYLEDONS OF DIPLOID WATERMELON AND THEIR USE IN BREEDING TRIPLOID HYBRIDS

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  • 1 University of Florida, IFAS, Central Florida Research and Education Center, 5336 University Ave., Leesburg, FL 34748

Tetraploid individuals were identified among plants regenerated from cotyledons of diploid watermelon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai] cultured in vitro. Tetraploid and diploid plants were distinguished by counting the number of chloroplast per guard cell pair. The mean number of chloroplasts was 19 and 11 for tetraploid and diploid plants, respectively. Self-fertile tetraploids were obtained from the diploid cultivars Mickylee, Jubilee II and Royal Sweet. `Dixielee' and `Minilee' tetraploids failed to set fruit. Progeny obtained from self-fertile tetraploids were crossed with diploid pollinators to produce triploid hybrid seed. All triploid plants produced seedless fruit that was superior or equal to fruit produced by currently available triploid hybrids. This demonstrates that tissue culture can be used to produce high quality tetraploid plants for use in triploid hybrid seed production.

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