Study Identifies Genes Regulating Watermelon Growth

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists are studying how watermelons grow from a flower to full grown watermelon in just over a month. Their findings have resulted in the first reported large-scale study that identified and characterized key genes regulating watermelon growth and development.

According to researchers, tissue was removed from watermelons at three stages during growth and ripening. The scientists then analyzed RNA from all the tissue samples and used the RNA to develop a library of genes called expressed sequence tags (ESTs). These are unique gene segments involved in different aspects of development and metabolism.

The researchers found that these genes were active in metabolism, cell growth, cell development, and transporting nutrients and other substances across cell walls. The genes also came into play in cell division, cellular communication, DNA copying, plant defense and stress response.

For more information, go to www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/nov09/watermelons1109.htm.

Source: USDA News Service

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