Diversity among landraces of Indian snapmelon (Cucumis melo var. momordica)

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Diversity among 36 snapmelon landraces, collected from 2 agro-ecological regions of India (9 agro-climatic sub-regions), was assayed using RAPD primers, morphological traits of plant habit and fruit, 2 yield-associated traits, pest and disease resistance and biochemical composition (TSS, ascorbic acid, titrable acidity). Typical differences among accessions were observed in plant and fruit characteristics and snapmelon germplasm with high titrable acidity and possessing resistance to downy mildew, Cucumber mosaic virus, Zucchini yellow mosaic virus, Papaya ringspot virus, Aphis gossypii and Meloidogyne incognita was noticed in the collection. RAPD based grouping analysis revealed that Indian snapmelon was rich in genetic variation and region and sub-region approach should be followed across India for acquisition of additional melon landraces. Accessions of var. agrestis and var. momordica clustered together and there was a separate cluster of the accessions of var. reticulatus. Comparative analysis of the genetic variability among Indian snapmelons and an array of previously characterized reference accessions of melon from Spain, Israel, Korea, Japan, Maldives, Iraq, Pakistan and India using SSRs showed that Indian snapmelon germplasm contained a high degree of unique genetic variability which was needed to be preserved to broaden the genetic base of melon germplasm available with the scientific community.

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