Recent progress on the molecular breeding of Cucumis sativus L. in China

  • Shengjun Feng
  • Juping Zhang
  • Zihan Mu
  • Yuji Wang
  • Changlong Wen
  • Tao Wu
  • Chao Yu
  • Zheng LiEmail author
  • Huasen WangEmail author


Key message

Molecular breeding of Cucumis sativus L. is based on traditional breeding techniques and modern biological breeding in China. There are opportunities for further breeding improvement by molecular design breeding and the automation of phenotyping technology using untapped sources of genetic diversity.


Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) is an important vegetable cultivated worldwide. It bears fruits of light fragrance, and crisp texture with high nutrition. China is the largest producer and consumer of cucumber, accounting for 70% of the world’s total production. With increasing consumption demand, the production of Cucurbitaceae crops has been increasing yearly. Thus, new cultivars that can produce high-quality cucumber with high yield and easy cultivation are in need. Conventional genetic breeding has played an essential role in cucumber cultivar innovation over the past decades. However, its progress is slow due to the long breeding period, and difficulty in selecting stable genetic characters or genotypes, prompting researchers to apply molecular biotechnologies in cucumber breeding. Here, we first summarize the achievements of conventional cucumber breeding such as crossing and mutagenesis, and then focus on the current status of molecular breeding of cucumber in China, including the progress and achievements on cucumber genomics, molecular mechanism underlying important agronomic traits, and also on the creation of high-quality multi-resistant germplasm resources, new variety breeding and ecological breeding. Future development trends and prospects of cucumber molecular breeding in China are also discussed.



This research was supported by the Science Foundation of Zhejiang Province (Grant No. Y19C150016) and National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 31872105, 31801862 and 3180186).

Author contribution statement

HSW, SJF and ZL jointly conceived the review, conducted the literature review and wrote the manuscript. JPZ, ZHM and YJW collected the literature. CLW, TW and YC provided critical comments on the manuscript. All authors read and approved the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shengjun Feng
    • 1
  • Juping Zhang
    • 1
  • Zihan Mu
    • 1
  • Yuji Wang
    • 1
  • Changlong Wen
    • 2
  • Tao Wu
    • 3
  • Chao Yu
    • 1
  • Zheng Li
    • 4
    Email author
  • Huasen Wang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.The State Key Laboratory of Subtropical Silviculture, Laboratory of Plant Molecular and Developmental BiologyZhejiang A&F UniversityHangzhouChina
  2. 2.Beijing Vegetable Research Center (BVRC), Beijing Academy of Agricultural and Forestry SciencesNational Engineering Research Center for VegetablesBeijingChina
  3. 3.College of Horticulture and LandscapeHunan Agricultural UniversityChangshaChina
  4. 4.College of HorticultureNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingChina

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