Molecular and farmer-based comparison of a wild-weed and landrace complex of watermelon in Zimbabwe

C. Mujaju, G. Werlemark, L. Garkava-Gustavsson, M.J.M. Smulders, H. Nybom

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Traditional farming systems have been associated with the occurrence of intervarietal and interspecific natural crosses in many crop plants, thus contributing to the genetic diversity of the crop through genetic exchange. In this study, a combination of farmerpreferred morphological traits and RAPD markers were used to evaluate the dynamics of genetic diversity in 43 watermelon accessions collected at a single village level with a traditional farming system. The molecular variability assessed with RAPD markers and analyzed with multidimensional scaling and cluster analysis, demonstrated a substantial differentiation among the accessions. Population structure analysis also demonstrated the existence of three major forms of watermelon, identified by a set of alleles predominant within each form. Dendrograms based on RAPD data and on farmer-preferred traits data were positively correlated according to a Mantel test. Although cultivated cow-melons were genetically most similar to wild-weedy plants at molecular level, they grouped more similar to sweet watermelons based on farmer-preferred traits. The present study revealed limited gene flow between three forms of watermelon and provides insight into how the genetic differentiation corresponds to farmers’ classification of watermelons
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)656-661
JournalAustralian Journal of Crop Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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