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3,500 Year Old Watermelons

PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:26 pm
by Minimalist
https://ancientfoods.wordpress.com/2019 ... atermelon/

DNA from mummy’s tomb reviews ancient Egyptian origins of watermelon


The ancient DNA was then sequenced by Renner’s colleague Guillaume Chomicki, now at the University of Oxford. The team were only able to get a partial genome sequence, but it includes two crucial genes that reveal what these melons were like. “We were so lucky,” says Renner.

One of these genes controls the production of the bitter cucurbitacins. In the 3500-year-old melon, there was a mutation that disabled this gene, meaning it had sweet flesh just like modern varieties.

The other gene codes for an enzyme that converts the red pigment lycopene – the same pigment that makes tomatoes red – into another substance. This gene was also disabled by a mutation, meaning lycopene accumulates and the fruit would have red flesh.

What the team can’t tell from the partial sequence is how large the melons were and whether they had an elongated shape or round shape. But one of the ancient Egyptian pictures shows what appears to be an elongated melon, so it seems farmers had bred watermelons with most if not all of the key features at least 3500 years ago.


Thanks, guys, watermelon is just great!

Re: 3,500 Year Old Watermelons

PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 2:47 pm
by kbs2244
I just had some round watermelon last night.
It was a little larger than a basket ball.
Taste and color were the same.

Re: 3,500 Year Old Watermelons

PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:27 am
by circumspice
Ihad been reading up on the origins of various edibles & found some interesting info on watermelons... Apparently, most watermelons were white fleshed, compartmented & quite seedy originally. Picture a medium size melon with 'pockets' of edible flesh embedded in a thick rind. There are late medieval still life paintings showing various fruits & vegetables, one of which shows a cut watermelon exhibiting those characteristics. Early modern plant breeding brought the watermelon to the appearance that we are now accustomed to expect.

Re: 3,500 Year Old Watermelons

PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 2:40 pm
by kbs2244
Before the modern seedless kind they had black and white seeds throughout the pink interior.

This kind of melon was used by my grandmother to teach school integration.

A green lawn surrounding a white school house with a warm pink inside that had a mix of white
and black students in it.