Morphological and Molecular Characterization of Turkish Landraces of <i>Cucumis melo</i> L.</span>
AbstractCucumis melo L. from Eastern and South-eastern Anatolian regions of Turkey were characterized by using 43 morphological traits and 207 markers obtained from 31 ISSR and 16 SSR primers. The genetic relatedness was studied by examining the Euclidian/UPGMA dendrogram obtained from the combined phenotypic-molecular data. In the combined morphological-molecular dendrogram, there were two main clusters. Sweet and non-sweet melon groups were separated and the flexuosus group accessions were discriminated from the sweet ones, but the momordica group accession was clustered with the sweet ones. Unclear South-eastern Anatolian accessions were sub-clustered separately among the sweet ones. Principle component analysis (PCA) of morphological characters was used in detail to discriminate melon accessions. The cumulative proportion of variation reached 44% by first three PCA axes. The first component was mainly based on sex expression, ovary index, ovary shape, flesh thickness, seed cavity length, seed cavity width, soluble solids content, fruit shape, aroma, netting, and taste. The PCA plot based on all measured traits allowed distinction between flexuosus group, subsp.agrestis and reticulatus group. A high variation among groups was observed for the fruits characters. Netting, aroma and abscission of peduncle represent reticulatus group; a small fruit size, strong typical aroma and secondary colour distribution characterize dudaim group. Monoecy, very long fruit shape and mature fruit rind colour discriminate flexuous group; Ovary index, fruit size and flesh width distinguish subsp. agrestis group. These findings indicated wide range of variations for investigated characteristics in Turkish gene pool that provides a good source of diversity to use in melon improvement program for better yield and other traits of interest.
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