Genetic diversity in 50 snake melon accessions collected from Palestine (West Bank) was assessed by examining variation in 17 phenotypic characters. These accessions belonged to four important landraces of Cucumis melo var. flexuosus: Green “Baladi” (GB), white Baladi (WB), green Sahouri (GS), and white Sahouri (WS). Principal component analysis (PCA) and a dendrogram were performed to determine relationships among populations and to obtain information on the usefulness of those characters for the definition of cultivars. PCA revealed that secondary fruit skin color, flesh color, primary fruit skin color, and secondary skin color pattern were the principal characters to discriminate melon accessions examined in the present study. According to the scatter diagram and dendrogram, landraces of C. melo var. flexuosus: GB, WB, GS, and WS formed different clusters. However, based on Euclidean genetic coefficient distances, GB and WB had the least degree of relatedness with GS and WS, indicating distantly related landraces (Baladi and Sahouri). On the other hand, the highest degree of relatedness was detected between WS on one hand, and both GS and WB on the other indicating closely related cultivars. Fruit traits variability among the different snake melon landraces was evaluated and discussed in this study. This evaluation of fruit trait variability can assist geneticists and breeders to identify populations with desirable characteristics for inclusion in cultivars breeding programs.
Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution
Cucumismelo var. flexuosus, Fakous, Palestine, Phenotypic diversity, Snake melon