Open Access Open Badges Research article

Towards a TILLING platform for functional genomics in Piel de Sapo melons

Mireia González1, Meihong Xu15, Cristina Esteras2, Cristina Roig2, Antonio J Monforte13, Christelle Troadec4, Marta Pujol1, Fernando Nuez2, Abdelhafid Bendahmane4, Jordi Garcia-Mas1 and Belén Picó2*

Author Affiliations

1 IRTA, Centre de Recerca en Agrigenòmica CSIC-IRTA-UAB, Carretera de Cabrils Km 2, 08348 Cabrils (Barcelona), Spain

2 Institute for the Conservation and Breeding of Agricultural Biodiversity (COMAV-UPV), Universitat Politècnica de València, Camino de Vera s/n, 46022 Valencia, Spain

3 Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular de Plantas (IBMCP), Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV)-Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Ciudad Politécnica de la Innovación (CPI), Ed. 8E, C/Ingeniero Fausto Elio s/n, 46022 Valencia, Spain

4 Unité de Recherche en Génomique Végétale (INRA-URGV), 2 rue Gaston Crémieux CP 5708, 91057 Evry Cedex, France

5 Department of Plant Science, School of Agriculture and Biology, Shanghai Jiaotong University, 200030 Shanghai, People's Republic of China

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BMC Research Notes 2011, 4:289  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-289

Published: 11 August 2011



The availability of genetic and genomic resources for melon has increased significantly, but functional genomics resources are still limited for this crop. TILLING is a powerful reverse genetics approach that can be utilized to generate novel mutations in candidate genes. A TILLING resource is available for cantalupensis melons, but not for inodorus melons, the other main commercial group.


A new ethyl methanesulfonate-mutagenized (EMS) melon population was generated for the first time in an andromonoecious non-climacteric inodorus Piel de Sapo genetic background. Diverse mutant phenotypes in seedlings, vines and fruits were observed, some of which were of possible commercial interest. The population was first screened for mutations in three target genes involved in disease resistance and fruit quality (Cm-PDS, Cm-eIF4E and Cm-eIFI(iso)4E). The same genes were also tilled in the available monoecious and climacteric cantalupensis EMS melon population. The overall mutation density in this first Piel de Sapo TILLING platform was estimated to be 1 mutation/1.5 Mb by screening four additional genes (Cm-ACO1, Cm-NOR, Cm-DET1 and Cm-DHS). Thirty-three point mutations were found for the seven gene targets, six of which were predicted to have an impact on the function of the protein. The genotype/phenotype correlation was demonstrated for a loss-of-function mutation in the Phytoene desaturase gene, which is involved in carotenoid biosynthesis.


The TILLING approach was successful at providing new mutations in the genetic background of Piel de Sapo in most of the analyzed genes, even in genes for which natural variation is extremely low. This new resource will facilitate reverse genetics studies in non-climacteric melons, contributing materially to future genomic and breeding studies.

Cucumis melo; inodorus; TILLING; mutant; disease resistance; fruit quality