The wax gourd genomes offer insights into the genetic diversity and ancestral cucurbit karyotype

Nat Commun. 2019 Nov 14;10(1):5158. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-13185-3.


The botanical family Cucurbitaceae includes a variety of fruit crops with global or local economic importance. How their genomes evolve and the genetic basis of diversity remain largely unexplored. In this study, we sequence the genome of the wax gourd (Benincasa hispida), which bears giant fruit up to 80 cm in length and weighing over 20 kg. Comparative analyses of six cucurbit genomes reveal that the wax gourd genome represents the most ancestral karyotype, with the predicted ancestral genome having 15 proto-chromosomes. We also resequence 146 lines of diverse germplasm and build a variation map consisting of 16 million variations. Combining population genetics and linkage mapping, we identify a number of regions/genes potentially selected during domestication and improvement, some of which likely contribute to the large fruit size in wax gourds. Our analyses of these data help to understand genome evolution and function in cucurbits.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cucurbitaceae / genetics*
  • Domestication
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Fruit / anatomy & histology
  • Fruit / genetics
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Genetics, Population
  • Genome Size
  • Genome, Plant*
  • Karyotype*
  • Molecular Sequence Annotation
  • Organ Size / genetics
  • Phylogeny*