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My cherimoya, shortly before it became smoothie fodder.

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August 9, 2008

Sex in melons is ethylene mediated?

Melons tend do be more vegetables than fruit in my book, but this was interesting enough anyway:

A gene for sexual switching in melons provides clues to the evolution of sex (Genetic Archaeology)

I would not really have expected ethylene to be involved in sex determination. No indication what species, though, which I find frustrating.
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At 8/13/2008 12:08:00 PM, Blogger Brandon Hurr said...

Vegetable has always been a confusing term. There are fruits that are vegetables, as well as leaves, stems, roots, tubers, corms...

Botanically, the part that we eat from every cucurbit that I know of is a fruit (pumpkin, squash, watermelon, melon, cuke, loofa...). Okay, so we don't usually eat loofa, but the fibrous remains of the fruit are what we use for washing ourselves.

Regarding sex expression in cucurbits. I remember coming across quite a few papers on this during my "find anything with the word cucumber in it" phase of dissertation writing. If I remember correctly, ethephon could be used to stimulate the production of a specific set of flowers (male vs. female). Though I can't remember off the top of my head if male or female flowers were produced more in response to ethylene.

Still, very interesting that such a thing would be true in the first place.

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