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Origin and Evolution of the Cultivated Cucurbita

Thomas W. Whitaker and W. P. Bemis
Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club
Vol. 102, No. 6 (Nov. - Dec., 1975), pp. 362-368
Published by: Torrey Botanical Society
DOI: 10.2307/2484762
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2484762
Page Count: 7
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Origin and Evolution of the Cultivated Cucurbita
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Abstract

There are 27 species of Cucurbita, including 5 cultivated species, which are all indigenous to the Americas. The cultivated species are primarily isolated from each other by genetic barriers although they share common loci. Cucurbita moschata seems to occupy a key role as the putative ancestor of the genus. We suggest that the five cultivated species evolved independently responding more to natural pressures of evolution and to a lesser extent on the dependency of primitive man. The potential of domesticating the wild species C. foetidissima as a crop which has evolved without the benefit of man is discussed.

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