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Ana Fita, Belén Picó, and Fernando Nuez

Roots are critical for plants to withstand environmental abiotic and biotic stresses. Wild taxa are often used as source of variation for improving root systems, as they are adapted to more stressful soil environments than their cultivated relatives. We studied the genetics of traits related to root biomass, root length, and root architecture (considering the primary/secondary and the tertiary root levels) in melon (Cucumis melo L.) in a 2-year assay by examining the root systems of mature plants in 91 F3 families derived from the cross between a wild accession, Pat 81 [C. melo ssp. agrestis (Naud) Pangalo], and a cultivated accession, `Piel de sapo' (C. melo ssp. melo L.). Despite the difficulties of working with adult plants, we found that Pat 81 and `Piel de sapo' differ greatly in their mature root systems, which is in concordance with the results previously obtained with young roots. Pat 81 developed roots with less biomass than `Piel de sapo', but this wild accession had more favorable root length and architectural traits: a higher density of framework roots, more uniformly distributed along the soil profile, longer laterals with a higher density of branches, and a higher number of root orders. This root structure is linked to a deeper rooting ability and to the capacity of exploiting a larger soil volume. The genetic analysis indicated that length and architectural traits are more stable than biomass traits, both between years and between developmental stages. Moderate to low broad- and narrow-sense heritabilites were found for root length and architectural traits, with most of the observed variation due to additive effects. Our results suggest that Pat 81 could be used as donor of valuable genes for increasing root length and improving the root architecture of cultivated melons, producing melons potentially more tolerant to soil stresses. The lack of phenotypic and genetic correlations between length and architectural parameters and root biomass suggest that root structure can be successfully improved without increasing carbon expenditures.

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Jack E. Staub, James D. McCreight, and Juan E. Zalapa

Genes residing in highly branched, fractal melons [ Cucumis melo ssp. agrestis (Naud.) Pangalo] have the potential for increasing yield in dessert melon types, C. melo L. ssp. melo ( Zalapa et al., 2006 ). A horticulturally unique C. melo

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Ana Fita, Belén Picó, Rita C.S. Dias, and Fernando Nuez

Politécnica de Valencia Spain Dias, R.C.S. Picó, B. Espinós, A. Nuez, F. 2004 Resistance to melon vine decline derived from Cucumis melo ssp. agrestis : Genetic analysis for root structure and root response

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Ana Fita, Cristina Esteras, Belén Picó, and Fernando Nuez

to the research or development of a new breeding line or cultivar. Literature Cited Dias, R.C.S. Picó, B. Espinós, A. Nuez, F. 2004 Resistance to melon vine decline derived from Cucumis melo ssp

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Ana Fita, Néstor Tarín, Jaime Prohens, and Adrián Rodríguez-Burruezo

disease caused by Monosporacus cannonballus , from the wild melon Cucumis melo ssp. agrestis ‘Pat 81’ into the susceptible C. melo ssp. melo ‘Piel de Sapo’. Therefore, the trait of interest in the software is the resistance to MVD; resistant

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Ana Carolina de Assis Dantas, Ioná Santos Araújo Holanda, Cristina Esteras, Glauber Henrique de Sousa Nunes, and Maria Belén Picó

(FCA) of 13 simple sequence repeat loci to determine the genetic relationships of 40 melon landraces collected in northeastern Brazil and 21 representatives of 13 horticultural groups of Cucumis melo ssp. agrestis and ssp. melo . ( A ) FCA with the

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Gerardo H. Nunez, Hilda Patricia Rodríguez-Armenta, Rebecca L. Darnell, and James W. Olmstead

Experiments in blueberry culture. U.S. Dept. Agr. Bul. 193 Dias, R.C.S. Picó, B. Espinos, A. Nuez, F. 2004 Resistance to melon vine decline derived from Cucumis melo ssp. agrestis : Genetic analysis of root structure and root response Plant Breed. 123 66 72

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Ana Fita, Belén Picó, Antonio J. Monforte, and Fernando Nuez

HortScience 37 1092 1097 Dias, R.C.S. Picó, B. Espinós, A. Nuez, F. 2004 Resistance to melon vine decline derived from Cucumis melo ssp. agrestis : Genotypic analysis for root structure and root response