What do you get when you cross a cucumber with a melon? Cucumis x hytivus, a new hybrid that may provide a bridge for shuttling useful genes, especially those for disease resistance, between the two plants. Many cukes and melons are susceptible to several insects and fungal, bacterial, and viral diseases that reduce both yield and quality. Though both crops belong to the diverse Cucumis genus, this is the first successful crossbreeding by conventional methods within the 32-member species. Researchers used traditional techniques to double the hybrid's chromosomes.
Joseph H. Kirkbride, Jr., USDA-ARS Systematic Botany and Mycology Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland; phone (301) 504-9447.
This article was published in the June 2001 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.