Crop Biotech Update

Pumpkin Genome Sequence Now Available

November 2, 2017

Scientists at Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) and the National Engineering Research Center for Vegetables in Beijing, China have sequenced the genomes of two important pumpkin species, Cucurbita maxima and C. moschata.

The research team sequenced the two pumpkin species to better understand their contrasting desirable traits: C. moschata is known for its resistance to disease and other stresses, such as extreme temperatures, while C. maxima is better known for its fruit quality and nutrition. The hybrid of these two species called "Shintosa" has even greater stress tolerance than C. moschata, and is often used as a rootstock for other cucurbit crops.

The sequencing project also revealed an interesting evolutionary history for Cucurbita species. When the researchers compared the Cucurbita genome sequences to those of other cucurbits, they discovered that the pumpkin genome is actually a combination of two ancient genomes, making it a paleotetraploid.

For more details, read the BTI News.