Scientists … have sequenced the genomes of two important pumpkin species, Cucurbita maxima and Cucurbita moschata.
The finished genomes appear in the October issue of Molecular Plant, which highlights the work on its cover.
“Pumpkins are used as a staple food in many developing countries and are cultivated all over the world for their culinary and ornamental uses,” said Zhangjun Fei, associate professor at [Boyce Thompson Institute], Cornell adjunct associate professor of plant pathology and a senior author of the paper. Over two-thirds of the world’s pumpkins, squash and gourds are produced in Asia alone.
The researchers sequenced the two different pumpkin species to better understand their contrasting desirable traits: Cucurbita moschata is known for its resistance to disease and other stresses, such as extreme temperatures, while C. maxima is better known for its fruit quality and nutrition.
Once deciphered, the genome sequences are an important resource for further scientific research and breeding of Cucurbita crops. By analyzing the genomes, researchers will be able to identify many genes associated with the pumpkin’s desirable traits, and better understand the genetics behind the extreme phenotypes of the ‘Shintosa’ hybrid.
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