China: Pumpkin DNA mapped

Pumpkin DNA has been mapped in Beijing. The study was published in the Molecular Plant journal and was carried out by the Boyce Thompson Institute (Bti) and the National Research Centre for Vegetable Genetic Engineering.

The DNA was obtained from the two most common pumpkin species - Cucurbita maxima and Cucurbita moschata. It is distributed in 20 chromosome pairs, has an ancient history of between 3 and 20 million years and was originally bigger.

In addition, the information collected revealed how rounded shapes have higher nutritional properties while oblong ones are more resistant to disease and stressful conditions. Around two thirds of global pumpkins are produced in Asia. The vine plant comes originally from America but, according to some documents dating back to the early 1800s, the tradition of carving pumpkins on Halloween comes from Ireland.

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