Biotech Updates

Scientists Complete Melon Genome

July 6, 2012

The Melonomics Project, a consortium of nine research centers in Spain led by the Center for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG), has sequenced the melon genome, together with the specific genomes of seven melon varieties. This is an initiative that unites private and state-run centers for the first time.

The scientific investigation was led by Pere Puigdomènech at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), and Jordi Garcia Mas, at the Institute for Research and Technology in Food and Agriculture (IRTA) with contributions from the team of Roderic Guigó at the Genomic Regulation Center.

Results of the research show that the melon genome has 450 millions of base pairs and 27.427 genes. It is bigger than the genome of its nearest "relative', the cucumber, that has 360 million base pairs. Puigdomènech said that "We have identified 411 genes that can be related in disease resistance."  When compared with crops that are closely related philogenetically, the changes in the genome of this species showed high variability.

The team also identified up to 89 genes that are related with some aspects on fruit ripening: 26 genes related to the carotenoid accumulation (which gives the color to the melon flesh) and 63 related to the sugar accumulation and taste of melon.

Garcia Mas added that "knowing the genome and the genes related to the characteristics of value for agriculture will allow us to improve this species for obtaining more disease resistant varieties and with better organoleptic properties."

Read the news release from CRAG at