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Melon, Uzbekistan, 2017


Collectors: C. Kik (the Netherlands), F. Khasanov and A. Esankulov (Uzbekistan)

Introduction

In the global plant genetic database GENESYS, 8066 melon (Cucumis melo L.) accessions are present, which are maintained in 388 holding institutes of which 20 institutes hold more than 50 accessions. 4696 accessions are reported as landraces/traditional varieties and 214 accessions as wild/natural. The Centre for Genetic Resources, the Netherlands (CGN) holds 76 melon accessions.

It has been recently shown that melon has most probably a Central Asian origin and not, as has been thought a long time, an African origin (Sebastian et al. 2010). Therefore one could expect that in Central Asia, as a centre of melon biodiversity, a substantial amount of variation is present. As can be noted from Table 1 1766 melon accessions of Central Asian origin are reported in GENESYS of which 63% (1112/1766) are available for distribution. Most accessions collected originated from India, Afghanistan and Iran.

Table 1. The number of melon accessions originating from Central Asian countries present in genebanks worldwide according to GENESYS.

Country Not available AvailableUnknownTotal
Afghanistan 170 20511386
China 9 334183
India 120 64735802
Iran 87 1235215
Kazakhstan 1 5612
Kyrgyzstan - -33
Pakistan 23 172767
Tajikistan 2 1811
Turkmenistan 20 571390
Uzbekistan 26 244797
Total 458 11121961766

Uzbekistan is since ancient times famous for its melons (Jermokhin et al. 1962, Mavlyanova et al. 2005, Hansen 2015), however its genetic resources are poorly represented in genebanks worldwide (Table 1). Therefore a collecting mission to this country is clearly warranted.

The collecting mission resulted in the collecting of 50 melon accessions amongst which 30 Amiri, 15 Chandalaks and 5 Zard accessions.

All material and accompanying documentation concerning this expedition is currently, for a limited period, only available to sponsors of this mission.