Three orange-mesocarp derivatives of the xishuangbannan cucumber (Cucumis sativus L. var. xishuangbannanesis Qi et Yuan), P100, P101, and P104; and NPI (P105), an unrelated cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) reported to have orange flesh, were selected as parents for a diallel experiment to evaluate inheritance of orange cucumber mesocarp pigment over 3 years. Visual color intensity and carotenoid content were closely related. A preponderance of additive genetic effects for cucumber mesocarp pigmentation was observed in grade size 2 fruit (immature fruit used for pickling). Both additive and nonadditive genetic effects were important in grade size 4 fruit (mature). Years and yea× genotype interactions were highly significant for pigmentation of size 2 fruit, indicating the importance of environment on the expression of pigmentation in this size class. In contrast, color development was stable among years for size 4 fruit. P104 exhibited high general combining ability (GCA) estimates for size 4 fruit pigmentation across years, while P101 had high GCA estimates for size 2 fruit. The diallel analysis illustrated high fruit carotene content of parents per se. However, most hybrid combinations of the diallel reduced carotenoid content relative to parents, indicating both dominance for low carotenoid content for both fruit sizes and lack of genetic complementation among parents to enhance fruit color. Genetic control of pigmentation in size 2 fruit appeared to be independent of that for size 4 fruit.
Research geneticist and professor; corresponding author.