2022 APSA Cucurbinars - Thank God It's Friday - Session 5 - Other Gourds 25 November 2022 / 14.00 – 16.00 hrs (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 18.00 - 20.00 hrs Bangkok time (ICT/GMT+7). 

2022 APSA Cucurbinars - Thank God It's Friday
Session 5 - Other Gourds
25 November 2022 / 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm (GMT+7)



14.00 – 14.05

Opening of the Webinar (5 mins)
Dr. John R. Sheedy, Co-Chair, APSA R&D Advisory Group

14.05 – 14.10

New variety releases or endorsements (5 mins)

14.10 – 14.40

"Trait specific breeding in Ridge gourd at ICAR-IIHR, Bengaluru” (30 mins)
Dr. B.Varalakshmi, Principal Scientist, Division of Vegetable Crops, ICAR-IIHR

14.40 – 15.00

Discussion and Q&A Session (20 mins)

15.00 – 15.30

“Nuclear, mitochondrial and chloroplast genome of luffa and its implications for molecular breeding” (30 mins)
Dr Wirulda Pootakham, Researcher (Genomics), National Omics Center, NSTDA Thailand

15.30 – 15.50

Discussion and Q&A Session (20 mins)

15.50 – 16.00

Closing remarks (10 mins)
Dr. Divya Ashish, Member, APSA R&D Advisory Group



Dr. B.Varalakshmi
Principal Scientist, Division of Vegetable Crops, ICAR-IIHR

Dr. B.Varalakshmi is a Principal Scientist in the Division of Vegetable Crops of ICAR-IIHR, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India. She is the principal investigator leading Ridge gourd and Bitter gourd Improvement program aiming to develop disease resistant cultivars with superior horticultural traits and to develop enhanced germplasm using classical and biotechnological approaches. Current research interests of her program include 1) Augmentation of germplasm with traits important to growers and consumers 2) Developing cultivars resistant to downy mildew, powdery mildew and ToLCNDV 3) Developing gynoecious (bitter gourd)/ male sterile (ridge gourd) lines for economic hybrid seed production. 4) Development of andromonoecious lines in ridge gourd for extending the cultivation to protected conditions.

Trait specific breeding in Ridge gourd at ICAR-IIHR, Bengaluru
Dr B.Varalakshmi, Principal Scientist, Division of Vegetable Crops, ICAR-IIHR, Hesaraghatta Lake Post, Bengaluru-560 089, Karnataka, India

Ridge gourd is one of the important cucurbitaceous vegetables widely cultivated in Asia by small farmers. It has significant economic and nutritional importance. Cultivars belonging to various market segments like long / medium / small fruited with dark green/ green/ light green color are preferred for cultivation by the growers as well as consumers. High yielding varieties viz., Arka Sujat, Arka Sumeet, Arka Prasan and hybrid, Arka Vikram were released by IIHR. Cytoplasmic genic male sterility (CGMS) was identified with single dominant gene either in homozygous or heterozygous condition restoring male fertility in the presence of sterile cytoplasm. Development of male sterile lines in different genetic backgrounds is under way for facilitating the economical hybrid seed production. Development of andromonoecious lines facilitating ridge gourd cultivation under cover will also be discussed. With respect to disease resistance breeding, Tomato leaf curl New Delhi virus (ToLCNDV) and downy mildew (DM) caused by Pseudoperonospora cubensis are important biotic constraints to ridge gourd production throughout Asia particularly India. Sources of resistance were identified, genetics of resistance worked out, molecular markers linked to resistance were identified and development of resistant cultivars is underway against these diseases at ICAR-IIHR.

Dr Wirulda Pootakham
Head of the Genomics Research Team, National Omics Center (NOC)
National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA)

Dr. Pootakham is the Head of the Genomics Research Lab at the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA). Her work focuses primarily on applying next generation sequencing technologies to help identify molecular markers that are linked to important agronomic traits in a number of Thailand’s economic species. She was also involved in projects that address a pressing environmental issue of coral bleaching in the Gulf of Thailand and Andaman Sea. Currently, her lab has generated genomic resources for a number of crop species as well as environmentally endangered species in the mangrove forest.

Luffa spp. (sponge gourd or ridge gourd) is an economically important vegetable crop widely cultivated in China, India and Southeast Asia. We employed PacBio long-read single molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing to perform de novo genome assemblies of two commonly cultivated Luffa species, L. acutangula and L. cylindrica. We obtained preliminary draft genomes of 734.6 Mb and 689.8 Mb with scaffold N50 of 786,130 and 578,616 bases for L. acutangula and L. cylindrica, respectively. We also applied long-range Chicago and Hi-C techniques to obtain the first chromosome-scale whole genome assembly of L. acutangula. The final assembly contained 13 pseudomolecules, corresponding to the haploid chromosome number in Luffa spp. (1n = 13, 2n = 26). The sizes of the assembled Luffa genomes are approximately twice as large as the genome assemblies of related Cucurbitaceae. A large proportion of L. acutangula (62.17%; 456.69 Mb) and L. cylindrica (56.78%; 391.65 Mb) genome assemblies contained repetitive elements. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that the substantial accumulation of transposable elements likely contributed to the expansion of the Luffa genomes. High-quality genome assemblies for L. acutangula and L. cylindrica reported here provide valuable resources for Luffa breeding and future genetics and comparative genomics studies in Cucurbitaceae.


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