Scientists Texas A&M University have the map to sweeter, more healthful melons.


From samples grown at the Texas AgriLife Research greenhouses in Weslaco, researchers led by Kevin Crosby, Soon Park and Hye Hwang completed what had been a partial map of the melon genome.


“This will help us anchor down some of the desirable genes to develop better melon varieties,” Crosby said in a news release. “We can identify specific genes for higher sugar content, disease resistance and even drought tolerance.”


The research is in the Journal of the American Society of Horticultural Sciences and fills in gaps in partial maps already completed by researchers in France and Spain.


The study used Deltex ananas melons crossed with a wild variety called TGR 1551.


Crosby said researchers located the genetic markers linked to fruit sugar, ascorbic acid and male sterility — all useful for developing hybrids.