, Volume 124, Issue 5, pp 875-891,
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Genetic relationships and evolution in Cucurbita pepo (pumpkin, squash, gourd) as revealed by simple sequence repeat polymorphisms

Abstract

Genetic relationships among 104 accessions of Cucurbita pepo were assessed from polymorphisms in 134 SSR (microsatellite) and four SCAR loci, yielding a total of 418 alleles, distributed among all 20 linkage groups. Genetic distance values were calculated, a dendrogram constructed, and principal coordinate analyses conducted. The results showed 100 of the accessions as distributed among three clusters representing each of the recognized subspecies, pepo, texana, and fraterna. The remaining four accessions, all having very small, round, striped fruits, assumed central positions between the two cultivated subspecies, pepo and texana, suggesting that they are relicts of undescribed wild ancestors of the two domesticated subspecies. In both, subsp. texana and subsp. pepo, accessions belonging to the same cultivar-group (fruit shape) associated with one another. Within subsp. pepo, accessions grown for their seeds or that are generalists, used for both seed and fruit consumption, assumed central positions. Specialized accessions, grown exclusively for consumption of their young fruits, or their mature fruit flesh, or seed oil extraction, tended to assume outlying positions, and the different specializations radiated outward from the center in different directions. Accessions of the longest-fruited cultivar-group, Cocozelle, radiated bidirectionally, indicating independent selection events for long fruits in subsp. pepo probably driven by a common desire to consume the young fruits. Among the accessions tested, there was no evidence for crossing between subspecies after domestication.

Communicated by I. Paran.