Cucurbit crops simultaneously bestow upon the breeder several advantages and disadvantages. As pointed out by Whitaker and Bohn (1950), cucurbit crops are easily grown, indeterminant plant types, which typically offer plenty of large fl owers to work with over a fairly long period of time. Probably the greatest disadvantage is that cucurbit crops tend to be large plants that require abundant fi eld space for proper examination of most agronomically important traits. Adding to the disadvantages, cucurbit

1Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center, Department of Horticultural Sciences, Texas A & M University, College Station, TX 77843-2119, USA; e-mail: [email protected] 2Wes Watkins Agricultural Research Laboratory, USDA-ARS, PO Box 159, Hwy.3 West Lane, OK 74555, USA; e-mail: [email protected] 3Department of Horticultural Science, Box 7609, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7609, USA; e-mail: [email protected] *Corresponding author

crops must be hand-pollinated to prevent cross-pollination, and since most selections are for fruit qualities, pollinations must be made before selection of desired phenotype. Consequently, our genetic understanding has lagged behind other crops that can be more easily self-pollinated and properly evaluated in a smaller area, such as tomato.