Biotech Updates

Draft Genetic Sequence of Cucumber Completed By Chinese Scientists

November 6, 2009

Cucumber is an economically important crop as well as a model system for sex determination studies and plant vascular biology. The draft genome sequence of Cucumis sativus var. sativus L. was completed by Chinese scientists at the Institute of Vegetables and Flowers, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences with a novel combination of traditional Sanger and next-generation Illumina GA sequencing technologies. Results were published online in Nature Genetics on November 1, 2009.

In this study, scientists obtained 72.2-fold genome coverage and the results established that five of the cucumber's seven chromosomes arose from fusions of ten ancestral chromosomes after divergence from Cucumis melo. The sequenced cucumber genome affords insight into traits such as its sex expression, disease resistance, biosynthesis of cucurbitacin and 'fresh green' odor, and also provides a valuable resource for developing elite cultivars and studying the evolution and function of the plant vascular system.

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