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Yosef Burger, Uzi Saar, Nurit Katzir, Harry S. Paris, Yelena Yeselson, Ilan Levin and Arthur A. Schaffer

Fruit sweetness is the major determinant of fruit quality in melons (Cucumis melo L.) and reflects the concentration of the three major soluble sugars, sucrose, glucose, and fructose, present in the fruit flesh. Of these three sugars, sucrose is the prime factor accounting for both the genetic and the environmental variability observed in sugar content of C. melo fruit. Faqqous (subsp. melo var. flexuosus), a cultivar having a low sucrose and total sugar content, was crossed with Noy Yizre'el (subsp. melo var. reticulatus), a cultivar having a high sucrose and total sugar content. F1 plants had a sucrose content averaging slightly higher than that of the low-sucrose parent, indicating that low sucrose content is nearly completely dominant. Segregation in the F2 and backcross progenies indicated that high sucrose accumulation in melon fruit flesh is conferred by a single recessive gene herein designated suc. When the high-sucrose parent was crossed with the moderate-sucrose landrace known as Persia 202 (subsp. melo var. reticulatus), the segregation in the filial and backcross progenies suggested that additional genetic factors affect the amount of sucrose accumulation.

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Yosef Burger, Uzi Sa'ar, Asaph Distelfeld, Nurit Katzir, Yelena Yeselson, Shmuel Shen and Arthur A. Schaffer

The sweet cultivars of Cucumis melo are characterized by high sucrose levels, together with low acid levels in the mature fruit flesh. The trait of high sugar accumulation in C. melo fruit is determined by a single recessive gene, suc. High acid content, conferred by a single dominant gene, So, is found only in C. melo varieties that do not accumulate high levels of sugar and are used for nondessert purposes. We combined the genetic traits of high acid content (low pH) and high sugar levels by crossing the nonsweet, high acid C. melo var. flexuosus, `Faqqous' (So/So, Suc/Suc), with high sugar, low acid C. melo genotypes (so/so, suc/suc) and generating the recombinant genotype So/—, suc/suc. Segregating F2 populations derived from the cross between `Faqqous' and a standard high sugar, low acid line showed that the traits of high sugar and low pH were inherited independently of each other. The accumulation of acid and sugar in the developing fruit of a recombinant high acid, high sugar breeding line, A6, were also temporally independent, with acid accumulation preceding the rise in sucrose levels. The low pH of A6 was correlated with the developmental increase in titratable acidity and particularly of citric acid levels. The combination of increased acidity and high sugar provides the melons with a unique taste due to a sugar to acid ratio not present in sweet C. melo cultivars. These results are discussed in terms of the evolution under domestication of C. melo.