Mission Melon: Improving Qualitative Traits in Cucumis Melo Using Phenomics Conference Paper uri icon


  • Cucumis melo var. reticulatus is a diploid, andromonoecious species in the Cucurbitaceae family with origins in India. Muskmelon has robust cultivation growth over the last century due to its culinary appeal and health benefits. The U.S. ranks fifth internationally for production with a three-hundred-million-dollar market, following countries such as China, Turkey, and Spain. Among the states that cultivate melons, California grows 60 percent (1 million tons/year) of the total U.S. market from June to October. In the off-season, melons are imported from Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Mexico. A decline in production can be attributed to the increase cost of production and a lack of adapted cultivars. The objective of this experiment is to address producer and consumer needs in a dynamic market by developing and identifying cultivars adapted to the Texas environment, with enhanced fruit quality and yield potential. Andromonoecious breeding lines were used as the six maternal parents and six paternal parents in a North Carolina II factorial design to produce thirty-four F1 hybrids. Field evaluations were conducted in Uvalde, Texas during the spring of 2019 to determine high-parent heterosis and narrow-sense heritability of the F1 hybrids within this population. Evaluation parameters for the traits of interest include netting height, width, and coverage; weight (lbs.), shape and size (cm.); colorimeter values (CIE *L, *a, *b); penetrometer (N); Brix (TSS); abscission size; cavity fill percentage and physiological defects present. The assumptions made about narrow sense heritability estimates of the quantitative traits in this population only pertain to these specific hybrid varieties. However, they could hold true for other muskmelons if the underlying, additive genes are the same, which may likely be true. Genetic diversity leads to a higher chance of discovering useful heterosis within a population. Therefore, in future experiments, additional combinations and families will be evaluated. Identification of 15 hybrids that qualify for further field testing were 19 x 65, 26 x 96 and 52 x 96. Continuing to improve phenotyping methodology and protocol efficiency will lead to enhanced fruit quality and straightforward selection of useful hybrids in future trials.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Fix, A., Patil, B. S., Leskovar, D. I., Rooney, W. L., Smith, W., & Crosby, K.

complete list of authors

  • Fix, Ashlynn||Patil, Bhimanagouda S||Leskovar, Daniel I||Rooney, William L||Smith, Wayne||Crosby, Kevin

publication date

  • September 2019