WVSU Watermelon Research Published in The Plant Journal ​

Contact: Jack Bailey
(304) 766-4109
April 5, 2021
West Virginia State University Watermelon Research Published in The Plant Journal
INSTITUTE, W.Va. – Research conducted by a recent West Virginia State University (WVSU) graduate has been published in The Plant Journal, a peer-reviewed journal with an impact factor of 6.14 publishing exciting, high quality science that addresses fundamental questions in plant biology. Marleny Garcia-Lozano conducted research into genome duplication of watermelon while pursuing her master of science degree in Biotechnology.

Garcia-Lozano worked in the labs of Drs. Umesh K. Reddy and Padma Nimmakayala to study the effects of doubling the chromosomes in lines of seedless watermelon. The team converted diploid watermelons to tetraploid watermelons and discovered higher resistance levels to stress and disease and overall fruit quality. The di- and tetra- prefixes refer to having two and four sets of chromosomes, respectively.

“This is the first-ever report to understand the mechanism of these genes in tetraploid watermelons,” Reddy said. “The work has great commercial importance as tetraploids are parental lines for seedless watermelons, the most commonly produced and consumed type of watermelon in the U.S.”

Long term, this research could lead to stronger, healthier varieties of watermelons, benefiting both the U.S. and West Virginia farmers and consumers.

Garcia-Lozano published four papers during her graduate studies at WVSU. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at the Max Plank Institute in Germany.

The article, entitled “Altered chromatin conformation and transcriptional regulation in watermelon following genome doubling,” was published in The Plant Journal this month. Coauthors included Garcia-Lozano, Reddy, Nimmakayala, Purushothaman Natarajan, Amnon Levi, Ramesh Katam and Carlos Lopez-Ortiz.

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