Watermelon Genetics

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Watermelon Genetics is complicated. This page is an attempt at a simplified and easy to understand interpretation of basic watermelon genetics.

This page is based on the info from: http://cuke.hort.ncsu.edu/cgc/cgcgenes/wmgenes/gene12wmelon.html. If you would like more detailed information please look to the above link. Thank You.

Note: these photos may or may not be accurate for the colors they represent.

Flesh Color

Flesh Color: Dominant from left to right
Canary Yellow (Dom. to all) Scarlet Red Coral Red Orange Salmon Yellow
Canary yellow2.jpg Scarlet red.jpg Coral red.jpg Orange flesh.jpg Salmon yellow2 bright.JPG

A few notes however:

There are several colors described that have not been studied for inheritance yet, including dark red, rose and pink.

Canary yellow is controlled by the C locus and is not part of the Y locus. It is epistatic to the Y locus. An inhibitor gene (i-C) of canary yellow can result in red flesh.

White is not part of the Y locus. White is controlled by 1 or 2 other genes, and is epistatic to other colors. There is a team in China that is publishing the inheritance of white.

But the main takeaways are this:

  • White Flesh is dominant to all color. In an F2 the ratio is: (12white : 3 Canary-yellow : 1red).
  • Canary yellow (C) is dominant to other colored flesh (c).
  • Scarlet red flesh is dominant to coral red flesh (YCrl); orange flesh (yO) and salmon yellow flesh (y).
  • Coral red flesh(YCrl) is dominant to both Orange flesh (yO) and Salmon yellow (y).
  • Orange flesh (yO) is dominant to salmon yellow (y).

White Fleshed Watermelon

Law of Independent Assortment
F2 WF-B WF-b wf-B wf-b
WF-B White flesh1.jpg White flesh1.jpg White flesh1.jpg White flesh1.jpg
WF-b White flesh1.jpg White flesh1.jpg White flesh1.jpg White flesh1.jpg
wf-B White flesh1.jpg White flesh1.jpg Canary yellow2.jpg Canary yellow2.jpg
wf-b White flesh1.jpg White flesh1.jpg Canary yellow2.jpg Scarlet red.jpg

Watermelon Seeds

Unraveling the genetics for watermelon seeds is even more confusing and complicated than watermelon flesh. But by using the available data i can produce a table with an educated guess.

There are at least three genes that work together for different seed colors and patterns and most likely many more. This is a very simplified educated guess.

Approximate Seed Coat Dominance from left to right
Black Brown-ish w/ black spots Tan/Brown Red White
  • Note: I have purposely ignored green seeds. It is probably so rare you will never encounter it. If you do, it is said to be dominant over red but not over black. Also i am not sure what "tan" actually is so i sortof lumped tan and brown together. And there are other seed colors that have not been studied such as gray, brownish-red, and seeds with multiple colors. Still i hope this gives you a rough guideline.

Watermelon Rind

Watermelon fruit.jpg
  • Fruit that are elongate (OO), oval (Oo), or spherical (oo).
Watermelon yellow rind.jpg
  • Yellow-rind fruit are a single recessive gene (go). Fruit become golden yellow as they mature.
  • Explosive rind (e) causes the fruit rind to burst or split when cut.
  • Tough rind (E) is an important fruit trait to give cultivars shipping ability.