Genome size variation in pumpkin (Cucurbita sp.)

T. C. Tatum, L. Nunez, M. M. Kushad, A. L. Rayburn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pumpkins, a subgroup of the domesticated Cucurbita species, have been reported to range in fruit type (related to size) from miniature (<100 g) to jumbo (>273 kg). In order to obtain a wide range of fruit types it is hypothesised that all potential factors affecting fruit type must be used. One factor that is often overlooked in plant studies is genome size. In various plant species, genome size variation has been associated with characteristics such as cell size, plant size and flowering time. Such characteristics are referred to as nucleotypic parameters. In order to determine if nucleotypic selection is occurring in pumpkin, 17 varieties were analysed for genome size variation in two separate experiments. The species selected encompass the total range of fruit types reported in pumpkin. Significant nuclear DNA content variation was observed in pumpkin. There was no significant correlation between genome size and fruit type. In fact, the miniature pumpkin types were found to have the same genome size as the jumbo pumpkin types. In addition, a positive correlation between genome size and stomata length (an estimate of cell size in plants) was observed. Both the miniature and jumbo types were observed to have the smallest genome size and the smallest cell size. Thus, nucleotypic selection does appear to occur in pumpkin and appears to be involved in determining fruit type, although it may not be the only factor involved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-151
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Applied Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1 2006


  • Chromosomes
  • Flow cytometry
  • Fruit type
  • Genome size
  • Nucleotypic selection
  • Stomata length

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science

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