Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment

Vol 12, Issue 3&4,2014
Online ISSN: 1459-0263
Print ISSN: 1459-0255

Genetic diversity and presence of DREB gene in watermelon cultivars and wild type of watermelon based on molecular markers


Abdullah S. Alsohim *, Mohamed  I. Motawei

Recieved Date: 2014-07-09, Accepted Date: 2014-09-30


Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) is commonly grown in traditional agrosystems throughout the drought-prone Saudi Arabia. There has been little work on investigating the relationships between wild and cultivated forms, and to study amount and partitioning of genetic variation, to allow for better conservation strategies. Previous studies have reported relatively low levels of genetic diversity in cultivated watermelon, but these have been based mainly on US plant introductions and modern watermelon cultivars linked to breeding programmes for disease resistance. The genetic relationships among six cultivars from different countries of origin and with different horticultural characteristics and one related wild-type species (Citrullus colocynthis) were assessed using inter-simple sequence repeats (ISSR) markers. Also, the presence of the resistance stress gene (DREB) as a marker of drought tolerance in watermelon cultivars and wild-type species was investigated. The cluster analysis results demonstrated low genetic diversity among commercial cultivars and high genetic diversity between wild species and commercial cultivars. Dendrograms produced two major clusters; one with all the watermelon cultivars and the other with the wild-type species. The low level of marker polymorphism among the adapted cultivars implies that a severe bottleneck in genetic diversity existed in watermelon during the initial breeding practices. There were no significant differences in chlorophyll content and plant height of wild-type species either in three-day intervals or watered daily. All watermelon cultivars gave lower chlorophyll content and plant height at three- and five-day intervals compared to watered daily. Specific PCR assays using AP2 primers (designed on the basis of the AP2/EREBP sequence of gene DREB) represent a sensitive tool for screening watermelon genotypes for the DREB gene. The DREB gene was present only in wild-type species. The amplifying DREB gene could be valuable in watermelon breeding programs for selection of desirable alleles under drought stress.


Watermelon cultivars, wild type of watermelon, genetic diversity, DREB gene, water stress

Journal: Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment
Year: 2014
Volume: 12
Issue: 3&4
Category: Agriculture
Pages: 281-284

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