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). 

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 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 – 14.40

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

14.40 – 15.00

Discussion and Q&A Session

15.00 – 15.30

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 


15.30 – 15.50

Discussion and Q&A Session

15.50 – 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.


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