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Genetic characterization of long shelf-life in honeydew (Cucumis melo var. inodorus) melon

Ezura, H., Akashi, Y., Kato, K., Kuzuya, M.
Acta horticulturae 2002 no.588 pp. 369-372
Cucumis melo, cultivars, developmental stages, ethylene, ethylene production, fruits, honeydew, honeydew melons, markets, recessive genes, reciprocal crosses, shelf life
In the Japanese melon market, the long shelf life of some melon (Cucumis melo) cultivars, such as the well-known Honeydew (C. melo var. inodorus), is an essential trait. In order to use this cultivar as a source for this trait, its genetic basis must be clarified. In this study, we analyzed ethylene production in Honeydew melons, a key factor for determining the shelf life of melon fruit. Honeydews (H) harvested at different developmental stages produced no detectable ethylene, suggesting that a lower level of ethylene production results in a longer shelf life. We then produced F1 and F2 plants by crossing Honeydew and Vedrantais (C. melo var. cantaloupensis) (V) and evaluated their ethylene production. Vedrantais is a cultivar with a short shelf life, and it produces ethylene in a climacteric manner. F1 fruits of reciprocal cross combinations (H x V and V x H) also produced ethylene in a climacteric manner. The F2 population showed a bimodal distribution of ethylene production in mature fruits; such a distribution is typical of a single gene trait. These results indicate that a single recessive gene that codes for ethylene biosynthesis regulates long shelf life in Honeydew melon.