The Agriculture Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, announces the release of ‘RKVL-318’, a novel germplasm line useful as a rootstock and as a genetic resource for enhancing resistance to root-knot nematodes (RKNs) in watermelon cultivars. ‘RKVL-318’ is derived from the wild-type watermelon Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. et Nakai subsp. lanatus var. citroides (Bailey) Mansf. ex Greb. (CLC) that is indigenous to southern Africa. The ‘RKVL-318’ plants are resistant to the southern RKN (Meloidogyne incognita), peanut RKN (Meloidogyne arenaria), and Javanese RKN (Meloidogyne javanica). The watermelon plants grafted on ‘RKVL-318’ rootstock had considerable yield advantage over non-grafted watermelon plants in fields infested with RKN. ‘RKVL-318’ should be useful in breeding programs aiming to develop RKN-resistant rootstocks for grafted watermelon or to enhance RKN resistance in watermelon cultivars. ‘RKVL-318’ was developed at the USDA, ARS, U.S. Vegetable Laboratory, Charleston, SC, by Dr. Judy A. Thies, Research Plant Pathologist, and Dr. Amnon Levi, Research Plant Geneticist.
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