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Cucurbit Breeding Project


This document was prepared as part of the comprehensive review for the department of Horticultural Science.

The Cucurbit Breeding Project at North Carolina State University, Raleigh is under the direction of Todd C. Wehner. He has a 20% teaching appointment in Academic Programs, involving graduate student training and teaching HS 741 and HS 801.

The Cucurbit Breeding Project specializes in breeding and genetics research on pickling and slicing cucumber, seeded and seedless watermelon, and luffa (loofah) ridge and sponge gourd. Articles and software have been produced from the research. Related programs at NC State include plant breeding and vegetable crops.

The research on cucurbit breeding is being done in three laboratories, five greenhouses, and at six experiment stations kindly made available to us by the department of Horticultural Science, the college of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and North Carolina State University.

Major research areas:

  • Collection and evaluation of germplasm
  • Qualitative genetics and gene mutants
  • Quantitative genetics of important traits (software developed)
  • Selection methods and optimization of breeding programs
  • Yield improvement; recurrent selection
  • Growth models of standard and new plant types
  • Polyploidy for seedless watermelons
  • Post-harvest quality
  • Resistance to cold, insects, and disease

The plant breeding and research done in this program since I started in 1979 has emphasized germplasm collection and evaluation, yield improvement, plant type, and disease resistance. The work has involved the hard work of many technicians, graduate students, visiting scientists, and other project personnel. We have produced research reports, journal articles, and book chapters, as well as germplasm and cultivar releases.

Some of the things we are working on now include:

  • Germplasm collection in centers of diversity (Turkey, Zimbabwe)
  • Dwarf-determinate cucumbers (Hybrid testing; populations: NCEDP, NCEDS)
  • Root-knot nematode resistant cucumbers (Cultivars: Lucia, Manteo and Shelby)
  • Gummy stem blight resistance in the watermelon germplasm collection
  • Papaya ringspot virus resistance in the watermelon germplasm collection
  • Production of triploid seedless watermelons using tetraploid x diploid hybrids
  • Yield improvement of watermelon

Funding for the program is from:

Providing skilled graduates, scientific research, and useful germplasm to the cucurbit industry
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Box 7609North Carolina State UniversityRaleigh, NC 27695-7609(919) 515-5363
Created by T.C. Wehner and C. Barrett 5 September, 1996; design by C.T. Glenn;
maintained by T.C. Wehner; last revised on 20 June, 2010