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Taiwan Seed Improvement and Propagation Station is cooperating with Shinshu University to analyze the virus resistance mechanism of C. metuliferus
At present, the domestic cultivation of melons and watermelons is seriously threatened by plant viruses such as Papaya ringspot virus and Cucumber green mottle mosaic virus. The severe infection will cause a major loss in yield and quality. Hence, TSIPS and Shinshu University (Japan) is carrying out the whole genome analysis of C. metuliferus. We are hoping to understand the resistance mechanism and look forward to finding out the application technology to improve the virus resistance of melon and watermelon cultivars in the future.
C. metuliferus is considered as the most primitive species of cultivated melons. It has been reported as potential genetic resources with resistance to many diseases lacking in cultivated melon and watermelon. However, the nature of viral resistance mechanism is remaining unknown. Hence, TSIPS and Shinshu University launched a genome analysis strategy for this topic. We expect to accomplish the genome sequencing and assembling, resistance associate polymorphic sequence selection, and functional analysis in the next three years, and furthermore using the new theoretical findings to formulate the application for antiviral varieties or plant vaccines.
C. metuliferus is one of Cucumis cultivated crops. The fruit of C. metuliferus is covered with comprised stout, conical, blunt base and sharp stalk spines and becoming a bright orange color when it turns ripe. Fruit flesh is translucent green, mucilaginous with edible seeds. Hence, it is also known as African horned melon, Kiwano, spiny cucumber, or recently commonly named devil fruit. The crop is commercially grown for export in Kenya, New Zealand and Israel etc. C. metuliferus is also particular for its multiple resistances to virus and pest, therefore, has been regarded as a plant with huge genetic potential but not yet been fully exploited. Therefore, we are hoping this international cooperation would bring solid benefits to the exploration of useful genetic resources.
Figure legend: The ring-mottled, orange-color fruits of C. metuliferus, the African horned melon or commonly named devil fruit. The jelly-like embryo sac and edible seeds tasted like cucumber with little sour and sweet flavor. C. metuliferus is highly resistant to PRSV infection which is lacking in cultivated melon.