2022 APSA Cucurbinars - Thank God It's Friday - Session 1 - Watermelon 29 July 2022 / 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm (GMT+7)

APSA is happy to announce a brand new webinar series consisting of 6 sessions covering Cucurbit crops in Asia and Pacific Region (Watermelon, Melon, Bitter gourd, Cucumber, Pumpkin & Squash and other gourds). Each session is to be held on Friday each month from July to December 2022 at 14.00 - 16.00 hrs Bangkok time (ICT/GMT+7). 

Exclusive for APSA members to learn more about: 

  •  Abiotic and biotic stress
  • Improvement in breeding and cultivation
  • New variety release from participating companies

Registration Fee: (one-time registration to attend all 6 sessions)

  • USD 150 for 1 to 5 Participants 
  • USD 250 for 6 to 10 participants
  • USD 300 for 11 to 20 Participants

Additional Benefits:

  • 6 months access to APSA seed academy platform with certificate of attendance and record of each session.
  • 5% discount for the same person register to an in-person ACRT in 2023.


2022 APSA Cucurbinars - Thank God It's Friday
Session 1 - Watermelon
29 July 2022 / 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm (GMT+7)

14.00 – 14.05

Opening of the Webinar
Dr. John R. Sheedy, Co-Chair, APSA R&D Advisory Group

14.05 – 14.10

New variety releases or endorsements

14.10 – 14.35

Topic 1: Abiotic and biotic stress research in watermelon
“Watermelon virus epidemiology, disease resistance breeding, marker development in South Asia”

Dr. M. Krishna Reddy, Principal Scientist and Head, Division of Crop Protection, ICAR-IIHR 

14.35 – 14.45

Discussion and Q&A Session

14.45 – 15.10

Topic 2: Improvements in breeding and cultivation for watermelon
"Watermelon genomics and genetic improvement present and future directions
Dr Xingping Zhang, Deputy Dean Institute of Advanced Agriculture Sciences, Peking University, China

15.10 – 15.20

Discussion and Q&A Session

15.20 – 15.45

Topic 3: Biotechnology applications in watermelon breeding
“Breeding for Gummy Stem Blight Resistance in Watermelon”

Prof. Todd C. Wehner, William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor, Emeritus, Chief Science Officer, Plant Pathways Co., Department of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University, USA

15.45 – 15.55

Discussion and Q&A Session

15.55 - 16.00

Closing Remarks
Dr. John R. Sheedy, Co-Chair, APSA R&D Advisory Group

Promotion of the 2022 APSA Cucurbinars - Thank God It's Friday - Session 2 - Bitter Gourd
Ms. Kunaporn Phuntunil, Technical Coordination Manager


Dr. M. Krishna Reddy
Principal Scientist and Head, Division of Crop Protection
ICAR-Indian Institute of Horticultural Research


As a distinguished plant pathologist with a distinguished career of 30 years, Dr. Reddy’s expertise is in surveying and monitoring of plant pathogens, diagnosis and identification of emerging plant pathogens, development of ecologically, sustainable IPM strategies, identification of sources of resistance to major plant viruses and development virus resistant hybrids/varieties in vegetables. Furthermore, he was recognized for the development of diagnostics and diagnostic services, extending to ELISA, DIBA and TIPA immunodiagnostics, NASH, PCR, RT-PCR, LAMP, NGS based molecular diagnostics for detection and identification of viroids, viruses, bacteria and phytoplasma infecting horticultural crops of fruits, vegetable and ornamental crops.

In the domain of international trade and quarantine, Dr Reddy is a designated authority to issue phytosanitary certificates for tissue culture plants and seeds to facilitate the export of 21 ornamental crops, four fruit crops and 31 vegetable crop seeds. He has provided diagnostic services and phytosanitary certificates for 53 seed companies, six organizations and three institutions and provided pathogen testing and certification for planting material, to issue phytosanitary certificates to seven nursery units and 17 Tissue culture Industries. He has mentored one PDF, 9 PhD and 6 MSc students, in addition to several scientific personal and also a recognized faculty of 9 Universities

Dr Xingping Zhang
Deputy Dean Institute of Advanced Agriculture Sciences
Peking University, China


Dr. Xingping Zhang is a deputy dean of Peking University Institute of Advanced Agriculture Sciences. He received his Ph.D. in genetics from Clemson University. He worked both in private and public sectors. He is an experienced agricultural scientist with expert knowledge and skills in genetics, breeding, crop management, IP protection. He has made remarkable contributions to watermelon breeding and genetics, including breeding of the standard setting watermelon varieties XiNong No.8, personal size seedless watermelon varieties, Super-pollenizer varieties, Fascination, Crisp Delight, Manchester… and managing the first watermelon genome sequence project with collaborators. He was given Lifetime Achievement Award during Cucurbitaceae 2018. 

Prof. Todd C. Wehner
William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor, Emeritus, Chief Science Officer, Plant Pathways Co.
Department of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University, USA


A.B. in Botany, University of California-Berkeley
M.S. in Agronomy, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dr. Wehner began his work on plant breeding at North Carolina State University in 1979. Responsibilities include research in the area of stevia (healthy, natural sweeteners), cucurbit breeding (cucumber, watermelon, specialty melons and gourds), teaching (plant breeding methods, distance education, integrated breeding databases), and service to the department. Outside activities include consulting with industry and teaching at the Plant Breeding Academy at the University of California-Davis.


Gummy stem blight resistant lines from a watermelon × citron population
Luis A. Rivera-Burgos and Todd C. Wehner
Dept. of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA, 27695

Gummy stem blight caused by Stagonosporopsis cucurbitacearum (syn. Didymella bryoniae) is a major disease of watermelon in the U.S. The lack of progress in development of resistant cultivars led us to a different approach. Three hundred lines were developed by crossing and intercrossing resistant plant introduction accessions, then crossing the progeny with elite cultivars, then intercrossing those progenies, and finally self-pollinating them. The 300 lines were evaluated for disease resistance and fruit quality traits under greenhouse and field conditions in a randomized complete block design with 10 replications and 3 years. The means and correlations for disease severity ratings and fruit quality traits were estimated. Around 200 RILs had disease severity ratings below the mean value of the disease assessment scale (4.5), indicating that they carry one or more genes for resistance to gummy stem blight. All disease severity ratings were correlated with each other (r=0.67 – 0.98, P < 0.001) but not with fruit quality traits. We are releasing 15 lines with high resistance and good fruit quality for use by interested breeders. The lines have sweet red flesh, elongate or round fruit shape, striped or gray rind, and large, medium or small seeds that are black, brown or tan.