Characterization of Lebanese Germplasm of Snake Melon (Cucumis melo subsp. melo var. flexuosus) Using Morphological Traits and SSR Markers
Snake melon (Cucumis melo subsp. melo L. var. flexuosus (L.) Naudin) is an ancient and traditional crop in the Mediterranean region. Nevertheless, there has been poor interest in assessing snake melon germplasm where its genetic resources have not been surveyed before despite their potential in adaptation to environmental changes. In this study, we assess the genetic diversity of snake melon landraces collected from different Lebanese regions at both morphological and molecular levels.
... ical characterization using a set of 18 descriptors revealed an important phenotypic variability among the landraces studied. Principle component analysis indicated that fruit hair and its consistency, fruit size, and skin color pattern were good criteria for discriminating among landraces. Based on the scatter plot diagram, landraces of snake melon formed five different groups with one being defined as typical var. flexuosus. Ten simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers were used for the molecular characterization. Fifty-six different alleles were detected, with an average of 5.6 alleles per locus. Polymorphism information content of SSR markers ranged from 0.06 to 0.84 (average 0.38). Cluster analysis based on molecular markers showed high genetic diversity and divided the landraces into five distinct genetic groups, confirming thereby the morphological variability. Findings of this study indicate a significant diversity for the Lebanese snake melon germplasm that must be further conserved and considered in improvement programs of this ancient crop.