Scientists have discovered that melons probably experienced three independent domestication events, two in India and one in Africa, according to a research article published in the journal Nature Genetics.
Melons are an economically important fruit crop that has been cultivated for thousands of years, said the article. The three domestication events gave the melon its sweet taste.
The scientists from 19 Chinese and foreign research institutions reported a comprehensive map of the genomic variation in melons derived from the resequencing of 1,175 accessions, which represent the global diversity of the species.
Genome-wide association studies for 16 agronomic traits identified 208 loci significantly associated with fruit mass, quality and morphological characters.
The study is a reference to understand the domestication history of the melon and provides a valuable resource for genomics-assisted breeding of the crop.