Preservation of Cucurbita germplasm

A project
Conducted and Reported by:
Harry S. Paris, Aviva Hanan and Assaf Porat
Department of Vegetable Crops & Plant Genetics
A.R.O. Newe Ya'ar Research Center

In Cooperation with:
The Israel Plant Gene Bank

Sponsored by:
The Lillian Goldman Charitable Trust (New York, NY U.S.A.)
February, 2009

The Cucurbits Section of the Department of Vegetable Crops, Agricultural Research Organization at Newe Ya'ar, Israel, has been researching the genetics and conducting germplasm enhancement of cucurbits since the early 1960s. Germplasm of melons, watermelons, squash, and pumpkins derived from a host of countries, mostly in Asia and Europe, has accumulated over the past nearly half-century.

The founding of the Israel Plant Gene Bank at the A.R.O. Volcani Center headquarters has provided the opportunity for long-term preservation of endangered germplasm. Our objective is to ensure long-term preservation of cucurbit germplasm and we have begun by focusing on the accessions of Cucurbita sp. (squash and pumpkins) other than C. pepo in the collection at Newe Ya'ar. This effort has included renewal of the seeds as well as characterization of the individual accessions in the collection, according to the framework of the International Board for Plant Genetic Resources.

We have succeeded in documenting and increasing the seeds of 50 accessions of Cucurbita argyosperma Huber, Cucurbita maxima Duchesne, and Cucurbita moschata Duchesne. Thirty of these accessions are from Europe, Asia, and Africa and the rest from the Americas. We have photographed mature and immature fruits of nearly every accession. Seeds of each accession have been deposited at the Gene Bank for preservation.

Description of the project.
Itemized summary of the 50 Cucurbita cultivars ( Table ) ( file PDF )

Governmental and Private Sponsors