Comparative Metabolomics and Molecular Phylogenetics of Melon (Cucumis melo, Cucurbitaceae) Biodiversity

Annick Moing, J. William Allwood, Asaph Aharoni, John Baker, Michael H. Beale, Shifra Ben-Dor, Benoit Biais, Federico Brigante, Yosef Burger, Catherine Deborde, Alexander Erban, Adi Faigenboim, Amit Gur, Royston Goodacre, Thomas H. Hansen, Daniel Jacob, Nurit Katzir, Joachim Kopka, Efraim Lewinsohn, Mickael MaucourtSagit Meir, Sonia Miller, Roland Mumm, Elad Oren, Harry S. Paris, Ilana Rogachev, Dominique Rolin, Uzi Saar, Jan K. Schjoerring, Yaakov Tadmor, Galil Tzuri, Ric C. H. de Vos, Jane L. Ward, Elena Yeselson, Robert D. Hall, Arthur A. Schaffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The broad variability of Cucumis melo (melon, Cucurbitaceae) presents a challenge to conventional classification and organization within the species. To shed further light on the infraspecific relationships within C. melo, we compared genotypic and metabolomic similarities among 44 accessions representative of most of the cultivar-groups. Genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) provided over 20,000 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Metabolomics data of the mature fruit flesh and rind provided over 80,000 metabolomic and elemental features via an orchestra of six complementary metabolomic platforms. These technologies probed polar, semi-polar, and non-polar metabolite fractions as well as a set of mineral elements and included both flavor- and taste-relevant volatile and non-volatile metabolites. Together these results enabled an estimate of "metabolomic/elemental distance" and its correlation with the genetic GBS distance of melon accessions. This study indicates that extensive and non-targeted metabolomics/elemental characterization produced classifications that strongly, but not completely, reflect the current and extensive genetic classification. Certain melon Groups, such as Inodorous, clustered in parallel with the genetic classifications while other genome to metabolome/element associations proved less clear. We suggest that the combined genomic, metabolic, and element data reflect the extensive sexual compatibility among melon accessions and the breeding history that has, for example, targeted metabolic quality traits, such as taste and flavor.

Original languageEnglish
Article number121
Number of pages26
Issue number3
StatePublished - 24 Mar 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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