Genotype Analysis of Fruit Color using a Molecular Marker in Watermelon [Citrul luslanatus (Thunb.) Matsum & Nakai]

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  • 1 1Texas A&M University, Horticultural Sciences, Vegetable & Fruit Improvement Center, College Station, TX, 77843-2133
  • | 2 2Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, Horticultural Sciences, Uvalde, TX, 78801

Fruit color and carotenoid composition are important traits in watermelon. Watermelon fruit color inheritance has revealed that several genes are involved in color determination. Carotenoids are known to have various functions in plants and animals, such as providing antioxidant activity and other health benefits for humans, and UV protection and pigmentation for plants. Differential gene activity in the carotenoid biosynthetic pathway may result in different color determination of mature fruit. Eight genes encoding enzymes involved in the pathway were isolated and their structures were characterized. While obtaining full-length cDNA of these enzymes, two single-nucleotide polymorphisms were detected in a coding region of lycopene β-cyclase (LCYB). These SNP markers showed cosegregation with red and canary yellow fruit color based on the genotyping of two segregating populations. This will lead to development of a codominant molecular marker for the selection of LCYB allele, which may allow breeders to distinguish between red and canary yellow watermelon fruit colors at the seedling stage.

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