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Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative Report 23: v-x (Article 0) 2000

23rd Annual Business Meeting of the Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative

Dennis T. Ray

University of Arizona, USA

The 1999 Business Meeting of the Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative (CGC) was held on 28 July 1999 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in conjunction with the 1999 International Conference of the American Society for Horticultural Science. Tim Ng (CGC Chair) was unable to attend the meeting, and Dennis Ray (CGC Coordinating Committee member for Watermelon) presided in his place.

The meeting was called to order at 11:00 a.m., with Todd Wehner volunteering to be secretary for the minutes. After introductions around the room, Dennis passed out a handout showing the past history (size, distribution, costs) for the CGC Annual Report. He mentioned that CGC may have to increase their dues to $10 US per year soon, to cover rising costs of printing and postage.

Dennis reported that CGC Report No. 22 (1999) was still in preparation and due in august, and would include the watermelon gene list. The number of papers for CGC 22 was down somewhat, probably because of many papers being submitted to the recent Cucurbitaceae '98. However, while the number of reports has been dropping in recent years, the length of the reports has been increasing. As a consequence, the size of the CGC Report has remained fairly constant. However, a recurring problem is that research papers are often sent late to CGC.

A brief discussion ensued on how to increase the number of submissions to the CGC Report, and also how to decrease the number of late submissions. Some thought was given to revising the "Call for Papers" brochure to indicate the kinds of papers CGC would like to be submitted. The possibility of publishing yield trials in CGC was also discussed.

The conversation then moved to upcoming cucurbit-related meetings, in particular the 1st International Oil Pumpkin Conference (Austria, August 1999) and Cucurbitaceae 2000 (Israel, March 2000). The next CGC Business Meeting would be held in Orlando, Florida, in July 2000, again in conjunction with ASHS.

Recent books were announced, including the availability of the proceedings from Cucurbitaceae '98 (from ASHS), as well as Cucurbitaceae '96 and Cucurbitaceae '94 (both from CGC). "Cucurbits" (R.W. Robinson and D. Decker-Walters) was mentioned as in the process being reprinted after the initial print run sold out. Also, a new book on O.J. Eigsti and the seedless watermelon was described, as well as an upcoming book on vegetable breeding (author unknown, in press).

The possibility of turning the CGC Report into a web-only publication was discussed. However, there was concern that many of our members, particularly international members, may not yet have computers or Internet access. The full text of all CGC back issues is not yet available on the web, and library archives for electronic versions do not yet exist. The decision was made to stay with the printed copy of the CGC Report for a few more years.

Under new business, Dennis mentioned that Tim Ng was now ASsociate Vice President for Research at the University of Maryland, and was finding it more difficult each year to continue the CGC Chair's duties, such as preparing the CGC Annual Report, publishing and mailing it, sending renewal invoices and the "Call for papers," developing the CC website, handling correspondence, and maintaining the CGC database of members and library subscribers. The possibility of identifying an Associate Chair who could take over some of these responsibilities was discussed, with the possibility of that individual becoming Chair at some point in the future. There was also a discussion of whether ASS might take over the web and printing responsibilities for CGC, and that this should be considered.

(Note: subsequently, Tim had a conversation with Mike Neff, ASHS Executive Director, and both agreed that this would not be possible under the current CGC cost structure. Tim was unwilling to dramatically raise CGC dues, so CGC will continue with the current organization for the forseeable future.)

The meeting was adjourned at 12:00 p.m.

CGC Website Update

Timothy J. Ng

University of Maryland, USA

As many CGC members know, CGC established a website in June 1995 as a means of communicating with its members and the general public, and also to provide an electronic archive of past CGC reports and software programs (See CGC Rept. No. 19:89-90). I initially established the website on the University of Maryland server, but quickly moved it to the server for the U.S. Plant Genome Project, which was located in the USDA National Agricultural Library (NAL) in Beltsville, Maryland. For many years, we had a mutually beneficial relationship with the NAL folks.

On Sunday, 8 August 1999, I received an urgent email that the NAL site was going to be decommissioned sometime with the next month or so. Responsibility for maintaining the NAL services was being delegated to the USDA-ARS Plant Genome Database Project at Cornell University, Ithica NY. Fortunately, the folks at Cornell graciously agreed to continue hosting the CGC website, and even moved the CGC pages from NAL and updated them in the process. Because of the timing, I was even able to get the new web address into CGC Report No. 22 (1999) as it was going to press. Thus, for those of you who were wondering, this is the reason behind the change in our URl this past year.

I am grateful to the "Demeter's Genomes" staff at Cornell for the transition and web hosting, and especially to Dave Mathews, who is the USDA-ARS Plant Genome Database Curator. And of course, my fervent thanks to the many people at NAL who assisted us during the first four years of CGC's presence on the web.

Taxonomic Data for Cucumis and Cucumella on the Web

Joseph Kirkbride, USDA ARS,Beltsville, MD, has just completed a "first draft" of the taxonomic data for cucumis and Cucumella on the Internet, with the assistance of his colleagues Michael Dallwitz and David Farr. To view this, go to <> and select "Systemic Resources" from the left frame on your screen. You will then find a section on"cucumis and a Cucumella (Cucurbitaceae): Cucumbers and Melons," which links to the web page for these data.

The databases contain data on 34 species, 6 subspecies, and 2 varieties of cucumis, and also 11 species of cucumella, all the known taxa of these two genera. Joe has organized these data into two databases, one with the morphological data for identifications, and the other data with collections data so that the detailed distributions can be worked out. To use the morphological data, you must have downloaded the INTKEY software program of CSIRO, which is available on the Internet at no cost.

CGC's website may become a "mirror site" for those databases in the near future. Meanwhile, Joe is very much interested in feedback on his website so that he can continue to improve it. If you are interested in taxonomic data for these two species, please feel free to access the databases and send Joe your impressions and suggestions for improvement.

Cucurbitaceae 2000 - Short Report

Nurit Katzir & Harry S. Paris

Newe Ya'ar Research Center, Israel

The biennial meetings on cucurbit genetics and breeding have been held over the past decade in even-numbered years and alternately on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. This year's meeting, "Cucurbitaceae 2000," the 7th Eucarpia Meeting on cucurbit Genetics and Breeding, was held in Israel, at the Ma'ale Ha'hamisha resort near Jerusalem. Over 150 scientists from 24 countries attended, there being 77 contributed manuscripts of which 48 were presented as lectures and 29 as posters. The meeting included tours of Israel's premiere cucurbit-growing region, an excursion to the ancient fortress of Masada, and of course to Jerusalem.

The book, "Proceedings of Cucurbitaceae 2000: the 7th Eucarpia meeting on cucurbit Genetics and Breeding: (edited by N. Katzir and H.S. Paris), was issued on the first day of the meeting. It is volume 510 (ISBN 90 6605 852 8) of the Acta Horticulture series, published by the International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS). It contains full-length manuscripts of the 77 lectures and posters contributed at Cucurbitaceae 2000. The manuscripts are grouped within the Proceedings into subject headings: breeding and genetics, air-borne diseases, genetics and germplasm, insect pests, virology, molecular biology, and fruit quality and postharvest. This 509-page book includes some color figures and can be purchased (as supplies last) from ISHS.

The address: International Society for Horticultural Science, K. Mercierlaan 92, 3001 Leuven, Belgium. Tax: 32 16229450; Email:; web:

At the close of Cucurbitaceae 2000 those in attendance voted the Czech Republic as the venue of Cucurbitaceae 2004, with Ales Lebeda acting as organizer.

Figure 1

20th Annual Meeting of the Watermelon Research and Development Working Group

Benny R. Bruton

USDA/ARS, Lane, Oklahoma 74555

The annual meeting of the Watermelon Research and Development Working Group (WRDWG) was held on Sunday, January 31, 2000 in Lexington, Kentucky. WRDWG met in conjunction with the southern Association of Agricultural Scientists (SAAS) and the Southern Region of the american Society for Horticultural Science (SR:ASHS). due to terrible weather conditions, particularly ice, there was a relatively low attendance with about 20 people present. Several WRDWG members got stranded in airports for the weekend and others could not even get started. In spite of the weather, there were four research reports and a highly enlightening report on watermelon germplasm from Alan Stoner.

Research Updates

Bob Maloney, Novartis Seeds, discussed problems with triploid seed germination. First, don't plant too shallow. Second, don't over-water. (If you over-water, excess water will get into the seed and you will experience germination failure.) Third, Temperature is an important factor. Some triploids tend not to germinate evenly, but after 14 days you will have all the germination you're going to get. Bob also mentioned planting a melon (OP) or wheat seed into the cell along with the watermelon seed to relieve the problem of plantlets pulling out of the planting medium during transplanting.

Don Maynard, University of Florida, mentioned that the american Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) was sponsoring crop specific books and that one would be published on watermelon characteristics, production, and marketing.

Dan Egel, Purdue University, discussed "Sudden Wilt" of watermelon in Indiana. The disease tends to start in an area and move down the row. The disease is more severe using plastic mulch, and fumigation has not shown a beneficial response. Symptoms on roots are variable, ranging from a relatively white root system to roots having numerous lesions. To date, no fungus or bacterium has been consistently isolated. However, ground-up roots from symptomatic plants did induce some seedling disease in the greenhouse.

Benny Bruton, USDA-ARS, Lane, Oklahoma, discussed the status of "yellow Vine" of watermelon. The geographic distribution of the disease continues to increase. Robert Wick, University of Massachusetts, sent pumpkin samples to the Lane Research Station for PCR testing. They were positive for the yellow vine bacterium. Although the disease was not observed in watermelon, this does expand the known distribution of the disease on cucurbits to include Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Massachusetts. We suspect that the disease is more widespread than is presently known. Symptoms have often been confused with Fusarium wilt and other vine declines. the best diagnostic characteristic is a honey-brown discoloration of the phloem. You can visit the following website and go to photos and see examples of Yellow Vine on various cucurbits crops including watermelon []. If you suspect yellow vine in your state, please send us samples to run PCR.

Another topic that was discussed is a seed source for the watermelon differentials for determining race of fusarium oxysporum f. sp. niveum. Todd Wehner agreed to get the differential germplasm, test it for purity, and increase it for distribution. Germplasm can be hard to find and impossible to know the genetic purity. I hope that in the future, we can find someone to produce the differentials and offer them for sale.

Allen Stoner, USDA-ARS, Beltsville, Maryland, graciously agreed to attend our meeting and help clarify some of the questions we have had about the watermelon germplasm. he gave us an overall view of the National Germplasm system, which has about 450,000 accessions total. Dr. Stoner discussed the evolution of the Germplasm Resource Information Network (GRIN), the national Seed Storage Laboratory at Ft. Collins, and the Crop Advisory Committees. We have 40 Crop Advisory Committees at present. Dr. Stoner made a few suggestions that are worth noting here:

  • We need to get duplicate samples of all the Ft. Collins, Colorado, watermelon germplasm, to Griffin, Georgia.
  • We need to minimize the duplication of germplasm at Ft. Collins and at Griffin.
  • Core collection may be a good idea. We need to enlist help from the Curator in making decisions and choices.
  • What is the value of the PIs increased under the old system (open-pollinated)?
  • Do ARS, Universities, and SEed Companies have seeds they would like to put into the system?

(Note from the Chairman: Bob Jarret (USDA-Griffin) has tried to get help in establishing a core collection for a long time. The Cucurbit Crop Advisory Committee and the Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative Coordinating Committee for watermelon should take the lead. Perhaps we can have input or we can take the lead and ask them for endorsement of a core collection. We need to do what we can, as a committee, to move this along if this is the direction we need to go. Please let me know what your individual thoughts are as to a Core Collection.)

News From the National Watermelon Promotion Board (NWPB)

William Watson, Executive Director of NWPB, was not able to attend due to prior commitments. However, the following NWPB information was provided:

  1. A new project at the Lane Research Station, Lane, OK, will investigate the content and health properties of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant in watermelon. USDA-ARS investigatorPenelope Perkins-Veazie will lead a team of researchers from USDA, Oklahoma State University, and Texas A&M, who will determine yield, stability, and quality of lycopene from marketable fruit and from watermelons considered culls.
  2. In another new project, a team of researchers from Oklahoma State University wills et up a system to better collect and disseminate production-related research to watermelon industry members. Researchers see a need to regularly communicate and relay information to the watermelon industry about cultivar and pesticide evaluations, fertility rates, and cultural practices. The group hopes to develop a national information exchange group to establish a mechanism for distributing research results and information to all facets of the watermelon industry.
  3. The NWPB Board voted to expand the work of Purdue University plant pathologistRichard Latin, who has developed a weather-based system designed to reduce fungicide use without increasing the risk of serious disease outbreaks. The system is called "Melon Disease Forecaster" (MELCAST). growers have relied upon MELCAST to provide temperature and moisture readings that enable them to spray at the most opportune time, thereby improving disease control while reducing fungicide costs.
  4. The Board also voted to continue University of Florida research by plant pathologist Don Hopkins, who is investigating how to marshal a plant's natural defense system to control disease through chemicals known as plant defense activat9ors. These activators have no direct toxic effect on pathogenic fungi or bacteria and are not classified as fungicides. Early findings indicate these activators are effective in preventing the spread of bacterial fruit blotch in the greenhouse and would be effective in reducing the amount of fruit blotch in the field.

The NWPB has budgeted $50,000 annually through 2001 to support research that addresses the following five research priority areas: (1) postharvest physiology/quality, (2) gummy stem blight, including host resistance, epidemiology, and control, (3) standardization of variety evaluations and data accumulation, (4) removal and disposal of plastic mulch, and (5) disease forecast systems.

III. New Business

It was decided at the 1999 Memphis Meeting that we should invite all interested people (national and international) to become involved with out group. The new WRDWG web page is up and operational. The address is: We have a search engine so that a person can find an expert in watermelon culture, fertility, plastic mulch, postharvest problems, foliar diseases, or soilborne diseases, etc. This information should provide a useful service to research and Extension personnel to find needed information. We do not intend to try to duplicate information that is covered on other web pages. Please pull up the forms, fill them out and send to us, since our 'expertise" section is very small and inadequate at the present time to be of much help. Hopefully, you will find our web page helpful.

Upcoming Meeting

The 21st Annual Watermelon Research and Development Working Group meting will be held from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, 28 January, 2001, in Ft. Worth, Texas.


From the CGC Coordinating Committee: The Call for Papers for the 2001 Report (CGC Report No. 24) will be mailed in October 2000. Papers should be submitted to the respective Coordinating Committee members by 28 February 2001, although late submissions may be considered if received prior to our processing deadline. The Report will be published by July 2001. As always, wearer eager to hear from CGC members regarding our current activities and future direction of CGC.

From the 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 (published in each CGC Report) 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.

From the CGC Gene Curators: CGC has appointed curators for the four major cultivated crops: cucumber, melon, watermelon and Cucurbita spp. Curators are responsible for collecting, maintaining, and distributing upon request stocks of known marker genes. CGC members are requested to forward samples of currently held gene stocks to the respective Curator.

Upcoming Meetings of Interest to Cucurbit Researchers

Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative

11:00 a.m., 23 July 2000

Coronado Springs Hotel, Orlando, Florida

Tim Ng

July 2001 Sacramento, California
August 2002 Toronto, Canada
September 2003 Providence, Rhode Island
Cucurbitaceae 2002 2002 Florida, USA

Don Maynard

2nd ISHS International Symposium on Cucurbitaceae May 2001 Japan To be announced. Check:
Eucarpia Cucurbitaceae 2004 2004 Czech Republic

Ales Lebeda

Watermelon Research & Development Working Group January 2001 Fort Worth, Texas

Benny Bruton

2002 Orlando, Florida
2003 Mobile, Alabama
Cucurbit Crop Germplasm Committee 6:00 p.m., 24 July 2000 Coronado Springs Hotel, Orlando, Florida

Jim McCreight

Pickling Cucumber Improvement Cooperative 24-25 October 2001

Hyatt Regency Crown Center
Kansas City, Missouri

John O'Sullivan

Pickle Packers International Fall Meeting: 25-26 October 2000
Fall Meeting: 24-25 October 2001
Spring Meeting: 2001
Spring Meeting: 2002

Hyatt Regency Crown Center
Kansas City, Missouri

Richard Hentschel

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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 15 December, 2009