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Prabin Tamang, Kaori Ando, William M. Wintermantel, and James D. McCreight

Cucurbit yellow stunting disorder virus (CYSDV) is a devastating viral disease of melon that can cause significant yield and quality losses. This disease has recently emerged as a major concern in the southwest United States and major melon-growing regions across the world. Coinfection of melon by Cucurbit chlorotic yellows virus (CCYV) was recognized in Imperial Valley and neighboring production areas of California and Arizona in 2018, but its importance remains largely unknown. Identifying and deploying CYSDV resistance from elite germplasm is an economical and effective way to manage the disease. A F2:3 population was developed from a cross of susceptible ‘Top Mark’ with CYSDV-resistant PI 313970, which was shown to possess a single recessive gene for resistance to CYSDV. The F2:3 population was phenotyped in the field in response to natural, mixed infections by the two viruses, CYSDV and CCYV in the Fall melon seasons of 2018 and 2019. Phenotypic data (foliar yellowing) from both years were not useful for mapping CYSDV resistance quantitative trait loci (QTL), as PI 313970 and CYSDV-resistant F2:3 plants exhibited yellowing symptoms from CCYV coinfection. QTL analysis of the relative titer of CYSDV calculated from reverse transcriptase quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) data identified one locus on chromosome 3 at the physical location of S5-28,571,859 bp that explained 20% of virus titer variation in 2018 but was undetected in 2019. A locus on chromosome 5 between S5-20,880,639 to S5-22,217,535 bp explained 16% and 35% of the variation in CYSDV titer in 2018 and 2019, respectively. One or both of the markers were present in six of 10 putative melon CYSDV resistance sources. Markers flanking the 2019 QTL were developed and can be used in marker-assisted breeding of CYSDV-resistant melons.

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James D. McCreight, Michael D. Coffey, Thomas A. Turini, and Michael E. Matheron

Races 1 and 2 of Podosphaera xanthii (syn. Sphaerotheca fuliginea) were defined in Imperial Valley, Calif. 1938 when P. xanthii overcame genetic resistance in `PMR 45'. Race 3 was first observed in the U.S. in 1976 in Texas; 15 additional races of P. xanthii have been reported in the literature since 1996. Races 1 and 2 have been common in Arizona and California based upon the effectiveness of the powdery mildew resistance genes in commercially available melon cultivars grown in these states. Field data from 11 commonly used melon P. xanthii race differentials in 2001 and 2002 indicated the presence of race 1 in the Imperial Valley and San Joaquin Valley of California, and Yuma, Arizona. In spring 2003, the powdery mildew race situation changed. The first evidence was the occurrence of a severe and widespread infection of powdery mildew in a commercial cantaloupe field. The 11 powdery mildew race differentials were susceptible to powdery mildew in a nearby replicated field test. PI 313970, a melon from India, was resistant to this apparent new race of powdery mildew.

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Narinder P.S. Dhillon, Supannika Sanguansil, Roland Schafleitner, Yen-Wei Wang, and James D. McCreight

We report here the genetic characterization of bitter gourd (Momordica charantia) based on polymorphisms of 50 simple sequence repeat (SSR) loci in 114 accessions that included landraces, breeding lines, and commercial open-pollinated and F1 hybrid cultivars widely grown in Asia. Neighbor-joining tree analysis revealed a high level of genetic variability in the collection. The 114 accessions formed three subpopulations represented by five clusters. Distribution of accessions across the five clusters reflected their geographic origin to a large extent. South Asian accessions originating from India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan were more closely related to each other than to any other geographical group. Likewise, southeast Asian accessions that originated from Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Philippines were grouped together. Accessions that originated from Taiwan were genetically distinct and grouped separately. A landrace from Laos was genetically close to the accessions from Thailand and genetically distinct from the rest of the accessions. White-fruited genotypes were genetically distinct from green- and dark green–fruited genotypes. Low- and medium-bitter accessions were more similar to each other than to the high-bitter genotypes. Accessions with cylindrical fruit were genetically distinct from those with spindle or elongated fruit. Commercial cultivars in each cluster were closely related, which indicated a narrowing of the bitter gourd genetic base in Asia in response to market demands for uniformity and yield. Use of diverse germplasm resources in bitter gourd breeding will help in sustainable breeding and production.

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James D. McCreight, Jack E. Staub, Anabel López-Sesé, and Sang-Min Chung

Genetic variation among 378 melon (Cucumis melo L.) germplasm accessions collected in India in 1992 and 26 accessions in China in 1994 was evaluated with 19 isozyme loci. `Top Mark' and `Green Flesh Honeydew', which represented two distinct C. melo ssp. melo L. groups, Cantalupensis and Inodorus, respectively, were used as reference cultivars. Genetic distances among accessions were calculated, and an initial cluster analysis using these distances resulted in 148 groups of varying size, ranging from two to 47 accessions. One accession from each of the 148 groups was chosen at random and used in a second cluster analysis that identified 11 accession groups. Group 1 was unique and consisted of only two C. melo ssp. agrestis (Naudin) Pangalo accessions. Two large branches were detected at cluster node 2. One branch was comprised of three groups of 3, 12, and 34 accessions, while the other branch contained seven groups of 2, 3, 14, 16, and 47 accessions, and the reference cultivars. Of the 148 accessions, 132 were from 41 sites in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, India, which were distributed unequally across the 11 groups. The 14 Chinese accessions originating from seven provinces were also dispersed unequally in the four major cluster groups. `Top Mark' and `Green Flesh Honeydew' were genetically distinct and uniquely clustered in the same group. These results indicate that additional collections of melon germplasm should be made in eastern and southern India.

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James D. McCreight, Jack E. Staub, Todd C. Wehner, and Narinder P.S. Dhillon

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James D. McCreight, Michael E. Matheron, Barry R. Tickes, and Belinda Platts

Three races of Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. lactucae, cause of fusarium wilt of lettuce, are known in Japan, where the pathogen was first observed in 1955. Fusarium wilt first affected commercial U.S. lettuce production in 1990 in Huron, Calif., but did not become a serious problem in the U.S. until 2001 when it reappeared in Huron and appeared in the Yuma, Arizona lettuce production area. Reactions of three fusarium wilt differentials (`Patriot', susceptible to races 1, 2 and 3; `Costa Rica No. 4', resistant to race 1, and susceptible to races 2 and 3; and `Banchu Red Fire', susceptible to races 1 and 3, and resistant to race 2) in a naturally-infected commercial field test and artificially-inoculated greenhouse tests, indicated presence of race 1 in the Yuma lettuce production area. Reactions of these differentials to an isolate from Huron confirmed the presence of race 1 in that area. Consistent with previous results from the U.S. and Japan, `Salinas' and `Salinas 88' were resistant to the Yuma and Huron isolates of race 1, whereas `Vanguard' was highly susceptible. Limited F1 and F2 data indicate that resistance to race 1 in `Costa Rica No. 4' and `Salinas' is recessive. `Calmar' is the likely source of resistance in `Salinas' and `Salinas 88'.

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Albert N. Kishaba, Steven J. Castle, Donald L. Coudriet, James D. McCreight, and G. Weston Bohn

The spread of watermelon mosaic virus by the melon aphid (Aphis gossypii Glover) was 31%, 74%, and 71% less to a melon aphid-resistant muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.) breeding line than to the susceptible recurrent parent in a field cage study. Aphid-resistant and susceptible plants served equally well as the virus source. The highest rate of infection (97.9%) was noted when target plants were all melon-aphid susceptible, least (26.7%) when the target plants were all melon-aphid resistant, and intermediate (69.4%) when the target plants were an equal mix of aphid-resistant and susceptible plants. The number of viruliferous aphids per plant required to cause a 50% infection varied from five to 20 on susceptible controls and from 60 to possibly more than 400 on a range of melon aphid-resistant populations. An F family from a cross of the melon aphid-resistant AR Topmark (AR TM) with the susceptible `PMR 45' had significantly less resistance to virus transmission than AR TM. Breeding line AR 5 (an aphid-resistant population with `PMR 5' as the recurrent parent) had significantly greater resistance to transmission than other aphid-resistant populations.

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Todd C. Wehner, James D. McCreight, Bill B. Rhodes, and Xingping Zhang

Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.), melon (Cucumis melo L.), watermelon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai], and luffa (Luffa aegyptiaca Mill) accessions were exchanged between scientists of the United States and the People's Republic of China. Exchanges were made during a July 1994 visit of cucurbit research institutions in Shanghai, ZhengZhou, Yangling, Urumqi, Turpan, ChiangJi City, Tianjin, and Beijing. The trip was coordinated by the Office of International Cooperation and Development, USDA. Chinese scientists received elite American accessions with useful traits, and the American scientists received classic accessions that will be preserved for use in the future by interested researchers. Accessions to be included in the USDA germplasm collection were 50 cucumbers, 30 melons, 51 watermelons, and 15 luffas. As a result of the visit, cucurbit scientists in the two countries learned about the programs of their counterparts, and are planning cooperative research for the future.

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Narinder P.S. Dhillon, Supannika Sanguansil, Supornpun Srimat, Suwannee Laenoi, Roland Schafleitner, Michel Pitrat, and James D. McCreight

Cucurbit powdery mildew (CPM) caused by Podosphaera xanthii (Px) is an economically important disease of bitter gourd (BG; Momordica charantia) in Asia. High-level resistance to CPM is known in various BG accessions that have been used to develop BG breeding lines that originated in different countries. BG breeding lines THMC 113 (Belize), THMC 143 (India), THMC 153 (Thailand), THMC 167 (India), and THMC 170 (Taiwan) possess high-level resistance to BG Px race (BG-CPM), designated Mc-1 from a field at Kamphaeng Saen, Thailand, whereas THMC 144 (India) is susceptible. Our objective was to determine the inheritance of resistance to BG-CPM race Mc-1. To that end, THMC 144 (India) was crossed with the five resistant lines. The parents and their respective F1, F2, backcross progenies were evaluated for BG-CPM disease severity in inoculated field and growth chamber tests. Resistance to BG-CPM race Mc-1 in the five resistant lines was controlled by at least two independent, recessive genes. Intercrosses of the BG-CPM–resistant lines revealed allelic resistances in four of the breeding lines: THMC 113, THMC 153, THMC 167, and THMC 170. Resistance in THMC 143 was clearly non-allelic for resistance to BG-CPM with the other four BG-CPM–resistant lines.

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Todd C. Wehner and Beiquan Mou