Sex Determination in Cucumis
The Cucurbitaceae family is widely recognized for their highly diverse sexual systems. Due to this variability and the agricultural importance of some of its members, cucurbits have been used as a plant model for understanding sex determination in the kingdom. Several studies in important members of this family such as melon and cucumber, have supplemented plant biologists with meaningful findings regarding the main factors influencing flower sexuality. Sex determination and the evolution of sexual systems comprise different factors, ranging from genetic components involved in ethylene biosynthesis to transcription regulators and epigenetic processes.
In this chapter, we present an integrative explanation of the mechanisms governing sex determination in different members of the Cucurbitaceae family. For this purpose, several studies on the field will be integrated in order to provide the main fundaments of flower development and sexual systems in cucurbits. Starting with the basics of floral ontogenesis, this chapter will discuss the genetic models regulating sex determination and the evidenced factors influencing flower sexuality. At last, we mention the nebulous aspects of the sexual systems present in cucurbits and the importance of considering them for future research.
KeywordsSex determination cucurbits monoecy dioecy ethylene epigenetics TILLING
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