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Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative Report 17: vii-xiii (Introduction) 1994

Comments from the CGC Coordinating Committee

The Call for Papers for the 1995 Report (CGC Report No. 18) will be mailed in August 1994. Papers should be submitted to the respective Coordinating Committee members by 31 December 1994. The Report will be published by June/July 1995. As always, we are eager to hear from CGC members regarding our current activities and the future direction of CGC.

  • Gary W. Elmstrom (melon)
  • Dennis T. Ray (watermelon)
  • Mark G. Hutton (other genera)
  • Jack E. Staub (cucumber)
  • J. Brent Loy (Cucurbita spp.)
  • Timothy J. Ng, Chairman

Comments from CGC Gene List Committee

Lists of known genes for the Cucurbitaceae have been published previously in Hortscience and in reports of the Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative. CGC is currently publishing complete lists of known genes for cucumber (Cucumis sativus), melon (Cucumis melo), watermelon (Citrullus lanatus), and Cucurbita spp. on a rotating basis.

It is hoped that scientists will consult these lists as well as the rules of gene nomenclature for the Cucurbitaceae before selecting a gene name and symbol. Thus, inadvertent duplication of gene names and symbols will be prevented. The rules of gene nomenclature were adopted in order to provide guidelines for the naming and symbolizing of genes previously reported and those which will be reported in the future. Scientists are urged to contact members of the Gene List Committee regarding questions in interpreting the nomenclature rules and in naming and symbolizing new genes.

  • Cucumber: Todd C. Wehner
  • Melon: Michael Pitrat
  • Watermelon: Billy B. Rhodes
  • Cucurbita spp.: Mark G. Hutton and Richard W. Robinson
  • Other Genera: Richard W. Robinson

Comments from the CGC Gene Curators

CGC has appointed curators for the four major cultivated groups: cucumber, melon, watermelon and Cucurbita spp. A back-up Curator for the "Other genera" category in needed; any one wishing to take on this responsibility should contact the Chair.

Curators are responsible for collecting, maintaining and distributing upon request stocks of the known marker genes. CGC members are requested to forward samples of currently held gene stocks to the respective Curator.

  • Cucumber: Todd C. Wehner and Jack E. Staub
  • Melon: J.D. McCreight and Michel Pitrat
  • Other genera: Richard W. Robinson
  • Watermelon: Gary W. Elmstrom, E. Glen Price, Billy B. Rhodes
  • Cucurbita spp.: Mark G. Hutton and Richard W. Robinson

1 -4 November 1994, South Padre Island, Texas

"Cucurbitaceae '94: Evaluation and Enhancement of Cucurbit Germplasm" will be held 1-4 November 1994 at the Radisson Resort on South Padre Island, Texas USA. It will be hosted by the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station and Extension Service and the USDA-ARS Subtropical Agricultural Research Laboratory.

The purpose of Cucurbitaceae '94 is to provide a forum for the presentation and exchange of scientific information about germplasm evaluation and enhancement research activities on cucurbit crops. All persons engaged or interested in these research areas are invited to participate. (We anticipate that the USA Cucurbitaceae meetings will continue on a four-year schedule, alternating every two years with the Eucarpia meetings in Europe.)

The Cucurbitaceae '94 scientific program will consist of posters, invited talks, and panel discussions on diseases, host-pest interactions, and genetics related to the enhancement of cucurbit germplasm,. Molecular and genetic aspects of diseases, germplasm resources, breeding strategies, and the physiology of fruit quality are some of the topics that will be covered/ All contributed oral presentations and posters will be published in a proceedings as full papers.

Meetings of the following groups will also take place:

Cucurbit Crop Advisory Committee

Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative

National Melon Research Group

Watermelon Research Group

Squash Breeders Group

Cucumber Breeders Group

Advanced registration (prior to 1 September 1994) is $135 US and includes all meals, social events, and a copy of the proceedings. For more information, contact Jim Dunlap, Texas AGricultural Experiment Station, 2415 East Highway 83, Weslaco, TX 78596 USA (Phone: 210-968-0641; FAX 210-968-5585; Internet:

17th Annual CGC Business Meeting

The 1993 CGC Annual Business Meeting was held on Monday 26 July 1993 in Nashville, Tennessee, in conjunction with the 90th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Horticultural Science. There were 22 CGC members and other interested individuals present. Tim Ng began by reporting on the history of the CGC Report through 1993, including membership statistics, report submissions and publication costs.

Two proposed changes to the CGC By-Laws were discussed, one allowing for the CGC Gene List Committee to expand beyond five members and the other to limit the responsibility for maintaining a stock of back issues of the CGC Report only to the most recent give years. It was agreed that the proposed changes should be considered, and that the next step would be to send a mail ballot to the CGC membership as our the By-Laws.

Other business items include the appointment of Bill Rhodes (Clemson, SC) to replace Warren Henderson as the watermelon individual on the Gene List Committee, and a change of the research report format in the CGC Report from a single-column to multi-columns. Finally, tentative plans were discussed concerning the digitization of back issues of the CGC Report to make them available for distribution on magnetic media (e.g. floppy disk).

Changes to CGC By-Laws

As decided at the 1993 Annual CGC Business Meeting, ballots for proposed changes to two CGC By-Laws were mailed to the membership in the fall of 1993. The first ballot item proposed that the Gene List Committee described in Article III, No. 2, be changed from "consisting of five members" to "consisting of at least five members." The second proposed that back issues of the CGC Report be changed from "available indefinitely" to "available for at least the most recent five years."

A total of 57 ballots were returned. The change to the Gene List Committee wording was approved (52 yes, 2 no, 3 abstain), as was the change to back issue availability of the CGC Report (54 yes, 3 abstain). These changes to the By-Laws are reflected in this issue (CGC Report 17:164-166; 1994).

CGC Meetings in 1994

CGC will hold two meetings during 1994.

The annual CGC Business Meeting of the American Society for Horticultural Science at Oregon State University in Corvallis. The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, 9 August 1994, from 2:30-3:30 p.m. in room 212 (MLK Room) of the Memorial Union.

CGC will also meet in Texas at Cucurbitaceae '94 in November (see the notice elsewhere in this issue).

US Cucurbit Crop Advisory Committee Update

J.D. McCreight, USDA-ARS, Salinas, CA USA

On July 24, 1993 the CCAC held its 10th meeting in Nashville, Tennessee in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Horticultural Science. Molly Kyle was appointed to the Committee.

The GRIN database was moved to Oracle on a Unix mini-computer in order to facilitate information exchange with other countries. A PC (DOS) version of GRIN was released to users; Macintosh and Windows were to be released in late 1993. The top CCAC germplasm priorities were cage isolations for Geneva and Griffin; a gene stock center was second priority. The concept of test arrays has begun to replace that of a core collection for germplasm evaluation of each species. Test arrays could be made for different diseases, insects, etc., or could be customized for any specific purpose. All CCAC germplasm evaluation datasets received to date have been entered into GRIN. Elimination of duplicates from the National SEed Storage Laboratory should be done cautiously: Gary Elmstrom found three accessions of 'Summitt' watermelon to differ for a key disease resistant trait. USAID is providing funding to VIR for new/improved storage rooms. The CGC Report is six years old and should be updated. This is especially so for the melon section because the melon collection was moved from Griffin to Ames. The watermelon section was recently completed.

Ten new C. metuliferus accessions are available from Ames. Maricopa, Arizona is being evaluated for southern increases of some cucurbits. Steve Kresovich was transferred from Geneva to Griffin, Georgia which needs more field space, or an alternative site such as Maricopa. Griffin is in the process of increasing 341 Citrullus accessions with the help of Joe Norton.

Three germplasm evaluation proposals were recommended for funding in 1994; 1) Evaluation of the U.S. plant germplasm collection of melon (Cucumis melo) and squash (Cucurbita moschata and C. pepo) for resistance to gummy stem blight (Didymella bryonia Auersw.) Rehm., Investigators: M.A. Kyle and T.A. Zitter; 2) Evaluation of Cucumis sp. germplasm for resistance to zucchini yellows mosaic virus, Investigators; J.D. Norton and G.E. Boyhan, Auburn University; and 3) Genetic diversity in cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) and melon (Cucumis melo L.) accessions, Investigators: J.E. Staub and J.D. McCreight. Two proposals were endorsed for special funding from NPGS: 1) Screening of the watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) germplasm collection for low-temperature seed germinability, Investigators: M.R. Hall and R.L. Jarret and 2) Cucurbit gene stock center, Investigator: Todd C. Wehner.

The 1993 CCAC meeting will be in conjunction with Cucurbitaceae '94 on South Padre Island, Texas, November 1-4.

Watermelon Research Group - 1994

The Watermelon Research Group met on 31 January 1993 in Tulsa, OK in conjunction with the Southern Region: American Society for Horticultural Science and the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists. Approximately 50 people attended the session.

The first half of the meeting was dedicated to brief discussions of general interest. Graves Gillaspie, Southern Region PI Station, reported on over 670 entries screened for resistance to watermelon mosaic virus 1. Many of them were from Africa and appeared good. Larry Hollar, Hollar Seed Co,., requested a discussion on the inheritance of resistance to Fusarium wilt in watermelon and the status of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. niveum race 2 in the United States. Ray Martyn, Texas A&M University, indicated that inheritance of race 1 resistance was probably single gene dominance and inheritance to race 2 was unknown, but likely to be multiple gene. He also stated that race 2 was present in several states, but as of yet, has not become a wide-scale problem. Benny Bruton, USDA, ARS, Lane, OK, reported on a new yellow vine disease of squash and melons in the Oklahoma/Texas area. Glen Price, American Sunmelon, expressed interest in the genetics of watermelon rind characteristics and if they could be altered, and also mentioned what he thought was the smallest watermelon - 30 grams! Joe Norton, Auburn University, reported on his program for selecting resistance to ZYMV in squash and anthracnose resistance in watermelon. He also indicated that AU-Oridycer will grow out ZYMV infection in the greenhouse. Don Maynard, UF-Gulf Coast REC, described several symptoms of unknown etiology on fruits. These included ring spots on varieties with darker rinds, blotchy disease on Crimson Sweet, Sangria, and Fiesta, and white leaf on Tri-X 31 3. Marty Baker, TAES, Overton, TX reported on the problems associated with variation in germination rates of the seedless varieties. Gary Elmstrom, US-Central Florida REC led a discussion on rind patterns, colors, and shades in watermelon fruit and questioned whether we should attempt to "officially categorize" fruit types for breeders and seedsmen to use.

The second half of the meeting was devoted to a discussion on the watermelon fruit blotch disease. Ron Gitaitis, Coastal Plain experiment Station, Fifton, GA opened the session with his efforts in developing a selective or semi-selective medium for detecting the bacterium in seed. Rick Latin, Purdue University, followed with his work on the seedborne nature of the pathogen and its spread, and Tom Kucharek, University of Florida, concluded with his research on the spread of the pathogen on foliage in the greenhouse.

a very impressive publication on bacterial fruit blotch of watermelon was distributed. This was written jointly by scientists from the University of Florida, University of Georgia and Clemson University and supported by eight different seed companies and the National Watermelon Association. Another publication was also announced, the Watermelon Production Guide, which is available through the University of Florida for $7.00.

The last item of business was Gary Elmstrom announcing that he was stepping down as Chairman of the Watermelon Research Group. Gary has served as chairman of the group since its inception in 1980 and has been instrumental in making the group what it is today. Ray Martyn has accepted the chairmanship for the next interim.

Next year's meting will be in Nashville, TN, February 5-9, 1994. The headquarters hotel will be the Opryland Hotel.

The Cucurbit Network (TCN)

CGC members Deena Decker-Walters, Thomas C. Andres and Terrence W. Walters have recently established The Cucurbit Network (TCN) to facilitate the exchange of ideas among different groups of "cucurbitologists." TCN is targeted towards a broad audience, including growers, enthusiasts, seed companies, pharmaceutical companies, and researchers in other disciplines, many of whom may have valuable cucurbit information or germplasm which they would be willing to share.

Dedicated to promoting the conservation and understanding of the Cucurbitaceae through education and research, TCN publishes a semiannual newsletter called The Cucurbit Network News (TCN News). TCN News strives to give its readership timely information on events and meetings, publications (both book reviews and recent citations), and societies of interest to cucurbitologists. Also featured are short articles on individual cucurbits and cucurbitologists. For example, a section called "Profiles in Cucurbits" discusses lesser known taxa or lesser-known species, and cucurbit researchers and/or enthusiasts are profiled in special "Meet...." articles. The "Bulletin Board" section of the newsletter includes advertising space available to TCN members, including individuals and businesses. Here, one can post requests for plant material or literature, direct items of concern to the cucurbit community, or make inquiries related to current research projects. TCN members are encouraged to become active co9ntributors to TCN News.

Annual membership rates for TCN are $% for USA, Canada and Mexico ($10 for other countries). For more information, or to subscribe, please contact TCN at P.O. Box 560494, Miami, F:L 33256, USA.

Melon, not Muskmelon

At Cucurbitaceae '89, (Charleston, S.C.), Larry Hollar began a campaign to have"melon" replace 'muskmelon" as the official U.S. common name for Cucumis melo L. This campaign has borne "fruit" in that the Agriculture Marketing Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently proposed an Amendment to Regulations Under the FEderal Seed Act to change the kind name of Cucumis melo to "melon." "Cantaloupe" and "muskmelon" would be acceptable synonyms of "melon". [The proposed amendment began on page 25706 in Vol. 59, No. 94, of the Federal Register (17 May 1994), with the proposed change to "melon" appearing on 25710. A Public Hearing was held on 8 June 1994, and written comments were solicited up until 8 July 1994.]

Senescence of Note: Thomas Wallace Whitaker

James D. McCreight

USDA-ARS, U.S. Agricultural Research Station, 1636 East Alisal Street Salinas, CA 93905 (USA)

G. Weston Bohn

1094 Klish Way, Del Mar, CA 92014 (USA)

Dr. Thomas W. Whitaker born August 13, 1905 in Monrovia California passed peacefully away November 29, 1993 in La Jolla, California. He was 89 years old. Tom was a seventh generation Californian whose family helped found the city of Los Angeles. He is survived by two children, five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Tom received his B.S. from University of California, Davis in 1927. He went to University of Virginia as a DuPont Fellow where he earned masters and doctoral degrees in genetics and cytology in 1929 and 1931. A Post-Doctoral Fellow took him to the Bussey Institution at Harvard University through 1933. While there, he associated with many well known geneticists including W.E. Castle and E.M. East. Afterwards, he was Associate Professor of Biology at Agnes Scott College, Decatur, Georgia through 1936. At that time Tom joined the staff at the USDA/ARS, Horticultural Field Station, La Jolla, California. There he carried out research on cytology, genetics and breeding of lettuce (Latuca sativa :.), melons Cucumis melo L.) and Cucurbita spp., and their lesser known relatives until his retirement in 1973.

Tom was twice awarded Guggenheim Foundation Fellowships. He was active in several scientific societies including American Society for Horticultural Science (President, Editor and Associate Editor), American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Genetic Society, American Phytopathological Society, American Plant Society (Executive Secretary), American Society of Naturalists, California Botanical Society, San Diego Society for Natural History (President), Sigma Xi, Society for Economic Botany (President; Distinguished Botanist, 1980), Society for the Study of Evolution, The Torrey Botanical Club and the Torrey Pines Association (President). In addition, he served on the Research Council of the San Diego Zoo and was a Research Associate at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, La Jolla, California.

Tom was a prolific author and wrote about 200 papers including research reports, technical reports, popular articles (with G.N. Davis) the classic review book, Cucurbits. Tom had great interest in archeological studies of cucurbits. He and his colleagues elucidated evolutionary relationships among various cucurbits including Cucurbits and Cucumis. He helped develop several landmark varieties and breeding lines, most notably Great Lakes type lettuce and PMR 45 melon.

Tom participated in numerous germplasm collection expeditions. Two of these led to the description of two plant species: Cucurbita ecuadorensis Cutler and Whitaker, and an Amaryllis species. Two post-retirement expeditions added significant numbers of Cucurbita spp. (With Robert L. Knight) from Mexico, and wild lettuce species (L. saligna and L. serriola) from Turkey and Greece (with R. Provvidenti) to the U.S. National Plant Germplasm System.

Tom was well known and liked for his generosity, kindness and sense of humor. He was blessed with a phenomenal memory for facts and details, and the abilities to speed-read and quickly recall this information. This allowed him to know virtually all of the U.S. plant literature during his pre-retirement years, and remember people's faces and names. The later ability was especially helpful to his colleagues not so blessed. He was accomplished in many areas of botany and agricultural science, yet he was unassuming and genuinely interested in the work and interests of his colleagues and friends. Tom will be fondly remembered by all who knew him.

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Page citation: Wehner, T.C., Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative;
Created by T.C. Wehner and T. Ng, 1 June 2005; design by C.T. Glenn;
send questions to T.C. Wehner; last revised on 1 August, 2007