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This is where watermelons come from.



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watermelon close up

Just in time for picnic table trivia. A new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Write the origin of the watermelon in the new home.

use DNA From greenhouse-grown plants representing every species and hundreds of watermelons. Scientists have discovered that watermelons likely originated from wild plants in northeastern Africa.

A 90-year error study put watermelons in the same group as South African melons. Researchers, including first authors at Washington University in St. Louis, found that the Sudanese form with a non-bitter white flesh, known as Kordofan melon (C. lanatus), is a close relative of the domesticated watermelon.

Genetic research is consistent with newly interpreted Egyptian tomb paintings, suggesting that watermelons may have been consumed in the Nile Valley as a dessert more than 4,000 years ago.

Susanne S. Renner Emeritus Professor Susanne S. Renner Emeritus Professor Susanne S. Renner Emeritus Professor Susanne S. Renner Emeritus Susanne S. Renner Professor Emeritus of Biology in the Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington

Renner is an evolutionary biologist who recently joined the University of Washington after working as a professor at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. Germany for 17 years, where she also served as the Director of the Munich Botanical Garden and the Munich Herbs.

Her lab has long focused on melons and cucumbers, but in the past 10 years she has turned to watermelon and bitter melon.

Genetic data published in this new study. This was done with colleagues from the US Department of Agriculture. in Ithaca, New York; Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in London; and the University of Sheffield — it could be useful for developing more disease-resistant watermelon crops, Renner said.

“Current watermelons come from very small genetics. and are susceptible to diseases and pests including mildew, fungi, viruses and various nematodes [worms]”So far, we’ve found differences in three disease resistance genes between cordoba melons and farmed melons,” Rainer said. Breeders may use these and other insights from the genome.”

But some of the key points from the study, Renner said, relate to the movement of people and their cultural connections.

“It was an Egyptian tomb painting that led me to believe the Egyptians were eating cold watermelon flesh,” Renner said. “Otherwise, those large fruits were placed on a simple tray. beside grapes and sweet fruit why?”

“Watermelons, cucumbers and watermelons have been raised many times” in human history, she said, “but putting these houses in space and getting names was harder than I thought 10 to 15 years ago. DNA from ancient seeds started coming in. help”

Reference: “The chromosomal genome of the Kordofan melon illuminates the origins of domesticated watermelons” by Susanne S. Renner, Shan Wu, Oscar A. Pérez-Escobar, Martina V. Silber, Zhangjun Fei, and Guillaume Chomicki. , 24 May 2021, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
doi: 10.1073/pnas.2101486118




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