2022 APSA Cucurbinars - Thank God It's Friday - Session 2 - Bitter Gourd 26 August 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). 

2022 APSA Cucurbinars - Thank God It's Friday
Session 2 - Bitter Gourd
26 August 2022 / 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm (GMT+7)

14.00 – 14.05

Opening of the Webinar
Dr. Conrado Balatero, Member, APSA R&D Advisory Group

14.05 – 14.10

New variety releases or endorsements

14.10 – 14.35

Bitter gourd-infecting Poleroviruses in Asia: Status and prospects
Ms. Cherry Relevante-Belagantol, Group Head - Pathology, East-West Seed Company Incorportaed, Philippines

14.35 – 14.45

Discussion and Q&A Session

14.45 – 15.10

Genetic analysis and QTL mapping of yield and fruit traits in bitter gourd
Dr Pulipati Gangadhara Rao, PhD (IARI, New Delhi); MAPSR Assistant Professor (Horti.), Dr. YSR Horticultural University Tadepalligudem 

15.10 – 15.20

Discussion and Q&A Session

15.20 - 15.45

The collection and evaluation of germplasm and breeding of new varieties in bitter gourd
Dr Ziji Liu, Research Fellow, Tropical Vegetable Research Center, Tropical Crops Genetic Resources Institute, Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences (CAAS)

15.45 - 15.55

Discussion and Q&A Session

15.55 – 16.00

Closing remarks & Promotion of the Cucurbinars Session 3
Dr. Conrado Balatero, Member, APSA R&D Advisory Group


Ms. Cherry Relevante-Belagantol
Group Head - Pathology
East-West Seed Company Incorportaed, Philippines


Cherry has over 20 years of experience in plant pathology, with expertise in plant disease diagnostics, development of disease resistance screening methodologies and plant virology research. She is the originator of the “EWS Plant Doctor,” a web-based support system to help farmers and other customers diagnose their plant disease problems and provide them with practical guides for managing plant diseases and insect pests. She is also part of the team who has done intensive research on the identification and characterization of poleroviruses causing “Namamarako” disease in bitter gourd in collaboration with Dr. Dick Peters at Wageningen University. 

Cherry represents East-West Seed in the International Seed Health Initiatives for Vegetables (ISHI-Veg) as a member of the International Technical Working Group for Tomato, Pepper and Eggplant (ITG-TPE).  She also represents the East-West Seed in the APSA Disease Resistance Terminology Working Group (DRT WG) as an active member of the Bittergourd, Tomato and Watermelon Subgroup. As Group Plant Pathology Manager of East-West Seed, Cherry develops the plant pathology strategic plan to support and accelerate product development with disease and insect resistance traits for East-West Seed. She is responsible for the overall organization, development and management of all research facilities and staff related to plant pathology/entomology.

Dr. Pulipati Gangadhara Rao
MAPSR Assistant Professor (Horti.) 
Dr. YSR Horticultural University, Tadepalligudem 


Working as an Assistant Professor at Dr. YSR Horticultural University, Tadepalligudem, India. Having teaching experience of six years and associated with the breeding of bitter gourd for ten years. He has excellent scientific knowledge and skills in the breeding of cucurbits especially developing (Pre-Breeding) & Maintenance of Parental Lines, studying Genetic Inheritance, Heterosis, Development of Mapping Population and QTL Mapping, etc... He has published several research articles and book chapters in high-impact factored national and international journals like Scientific Reports, Frontiers in Plant Science, etc…, acting as a reviewer in six national and international journals, received the “Young Scientist Award” from PLANTICA and life member in several scientific societies.


Bitter gourd is a nutritious and medicinal vegetable traditionally consumed in Asian and African countries, but neglected in terms of genetic inheritance and molecular breeding. Genetic and molecular studies in this crop are still at a very early stage and have wide opportunities for future research. All current varieties and hybrids in bitter gourd were developed through selection from landraces and conventional breeding methods like pedigree selection, mutation and heterosis breeding. However, traditional breeding methods have low efficiency and are time-consuming. Over the last decade, researchers have begun using molecular markers in the bitter gourd to study genetic diversity and to construct linkage maps. Transcriptomic resources like ESTs, multi-locus molecular markers, construction of genetic maps, QTL analysis, next-generation sequencing (NGS) platforms, RAD-Seq, GBS technology and whole genome sequencing studies provide greater opportunities for improvement of bitter gourd. The draft genome sequence (285.5 Mb~84%) of bitter gourd will act as a reference genome for future genomic studies. The availability of advanced molecular tools will complement conventional breeding used to accelerate genetic gain in bitter gourd. In this seminar, we will discuss genetic inheritance and QTLs mapping of horticultural traits in bitter gourd.

Dr Ziji Liu
Research Fellow
Tropical Vegetable Research Center, Tropical Crops Genetic Resources Institute
Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences (CAAS)


Dr Ziji Liu currently works at the Tropical Vegetable Research Center, Tropical Crops Genetic Resources Institute, Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences, P.R. China for more than a decade. Dr Liu has engaged in the collection and evaluation of bitter gourd germplasm, germplasm innovation and genetic breeding. He finished PhD in Plant Genetics and Breeding at China Agricultural University in Beijing. 


The collection and evaluation of germplasm and breeding of new varieties in bitter gourd
The main research contents include genetic analysis of main agronomic traits of bitter gourd; Isolation of the fusarium wilt pathogen of bitter gourd and resistance genetic analysis; resistance identification of bitter gourd germplasm to powdery mildew; Identification of root knot nematode type and resistance evaluation; genetic relationship analysis of bitter gourd core germplasm and the purity test of bitter gourd hybrid combining molecular marker technique and field phenotype.


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